Amazon stock hits a new all-time high as it sees unprecedented demand

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos laughs at a discussion at the Air Force Association’s Air, Space and Cyber Conference in National Harbor, Md., Sept. 19, 2018.

Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Amazon‘s stock hit a new all-time high Tuesday as the coronavirus pandemic catapults the company into an unprecedented spotlight. 

The stock was trading around $2,242 Tuesday morning, up about 3% from its previous close. Amazon last reached an all-time high in February, when it closed at $2,170.22 per share. Amazon’s market cap is now more than $1.1 trillion.

The Covid-19 crisis and stay-at-home orders put in place to combat the virus have put Amazon in a unique position to deliver goods to people around the world who can’t or won’t go shopping in physical stores. Amazon has said it would hire 175,000 more warehouse and delivery workers to keep up with the growing demand.

Once life returns to some sense of normalcy, Amazon could end up retaining customers whose loyalty it gained during the crisis. The circumstances have put many Americans in a position to rely on Amazon and other delivery services to meet their needs. Experts believe it will take months after the initial phase of the crisis for people to feel comfortable returning to large gathering places like grocery stores and shopping malls.

But the demand has also come with its share of criticism. The company’s warehouse workers have protested conditions at facilities and demanded better protections against the coronavirus. Amazon fired one protest organizer. It said the worker broke social distancing guidelines repeatedly and refused to stay quarantined after coming into contact with an associate who tested positive for the virus.

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The protester, Chris Smalls, said in a statement at the time, “Amazon would rather fire workers than face up to its total failure to do what it should to keep us, our families, and our communities safe.”

The Washington Post reported Monday that Amazon had fired two more workers who had spoken out against the company, which a spokesperson told the outlet was due to repeated violations of internal policies. 

Amazon has also caught the eye of policymakers and law enforcement officials over its moderation of third-party sellers seeking to exploit the crisis by jacking up prices. A group of more than 30 state attorneys general called on Amazon and other platforms in late March to implement policies preventing price gouging on coronavirus-related products. Amazon had told Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., earlier that month that it had removed 530,000 offers from its marketplace for price gouging related to the coronavirus. 

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