Amazon becomes most valuable publicly-traded company

Amazon has seen remarkable growth as its business has spread beyond its origins as an online bookseller. (AFP)
Updated 08 January 2019
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Amazon becomes most valuable publicly-traded company

  • The online sales goliath assumed the top spot after notching a 3.4 percent gain to finish with a market capitalization of $796.8 billion
  • Apple, long the world’s biggest company by market capitalization first lost the distinction in late November

NEW YORK: Amazon for the first time closed out Monday’s trading session as the world’s biggest publicly-traded company, overtaking Microsoft and other fellow tech behemoths.
The online sales goliath assumed the top spot after notching a 3.4 percent gain to finish with a market capitalization of $796.8 billion, about $13.2 billion more than Microsoft.
Led by Chief Executive Jeff Bezos, Amazon has seen remarkable growth as its business has spread beyond its origins as an online bookseller to myriad other retail categories.
Revenues jumped from $74.5 billion in 2013 to $177.9 billion last year and are projected to reach $232.3 billion in 2018.
Even with its latest distinction as top dog in market value, Amazon’s market capitalization stands well below its own peak in September, when it crossed $1 trillion before Wall Street’s late-2018 selloff.
Amazon’s retreat during the pullback has been less steep than that of other tech titans.
Apple, long the world’s biggest company by market capitalization first lost the distinction in late November and is currently fourth with $702 billion, behind Amazon, Microsoft and Google parent Alphabet, which has a value of $745.2 billion.
Created in a garage in a suburb of Seattle, Washington, the company, originally dubbed “Cadabra,” sold its first book — Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought by Douglas Hofstadter — in mid-1995.
By the end of that year, Amazon was selling books online throughout the US. Amazon went public in early 1997.
The company for more than a decade put growth over profit, investing heavily in warehouses, distribution networks, and data centers.
Landmark moves include the $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods Market in 2017, which brought it an extensive network of brick-and-mortar stores for the first time.
The company has also emerged as a major creator of original entertainment content, netting acting awards for Amazon original series at Sunday’s Golden Globe Awards.


India suspends Kashmir border trade with Pakistan

Updated 19 April 2019
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India suspends Kashmir border trade with Pakistan

  • Kashmir has been on edge since a February suicide attack that killed 40 Indian paramilitaries
  • India said it had reports that trade on the border was being “misused by Pakistan-based elements for funnelling illegal weapons, narcotics and fake currency”

NEW DELHI: India has suspended trade across its disputed Kashmir border with Pakistan, alleging that weapons and drugs are being smuggled across the route, as tensions simmer between the nuclear-armed neighbors.
Kashmir has been on edge since a February suicide attack that killed 40 Indian paramilitaries and brought the two countries to the brink of war with cross-border air strikes.
On Thursday, India’s government, which is in the middle of a tough national election, said it had reports that trade on the border was being “misused by Pakistan-based elements for funnelling illegal weapons, narcotics and fake currency.”
It also said many of those trading across the Line of Control, which divides Kashmir into zones under Indian and Pakistani control, had links to militant organizations.
The home ministry said trade would be suspended until a stricter inspection mechanism is in place.
The cross-border trade is based on a barter system, with traders exchanging goods including chillies, cumin, mango and dried fruit.
It began in 2008 as a way to improve strained relations between New Delhi and Islamabad, who have fought two of their three wars over the disputed region.
The Indian Express newspaper said Friday that 35 trucks carrying fruit traveling from the Indian side of the border had been stopped after the government order.
Trade on the border has been suspended before, including in 2015, when India accused a Pakistani driver of drug trafficking.
The latest move comes after India withdrew “Most Favoured Nation Status” — covering trade links — from Pakistan after the February attack, which was claimed by the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed Islamist group.
Islamabad has denied any involvement in the attack.
India’s Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made national security a key plank of his re-election campaign, pointing to the recent flare-up of violence as he battles the center-left opposition Congress party.
He is seeking a second term from the country’s 900 million voters in the mammoth election which kicked off on April 11 and runs till May 19. The results will be out on May 23.