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Senin, 11 Januari 2021

Twitter shares plunge on Donald Trump ban, as 'nervous' Wall Street investors cash out - ABC News

The Australian share market is expected to open flat as Wall Street dropped from record highs, while Democrats moved to impeach US President Donald Trump for a second time.

Twitter's share price tumbled after the company permanently suspended Mr Trump's widely-followed account, spurring concern among investors over the future regulation of social networks.

Meanwhile, bets on a rebound in business activity in 2021, driven by COVID-19 vaccine rollouts, larger cheques and infrastructure spending under president-elect Joe Biden have boosted US markets to record levels.in recent months.

Investors have begun to shift their money from tech-heavy growth stocks (like Amazon, Apple and Facebook) towards stocks linked with an economy recovery (including banking, oil and travel).

ASX futures had slipped by just one point to 6,637, by 8:35am AEDT.

The Australian dollar was moderately weaker (-0.8pc) at 76.99 US cents.

Bitcoin plummeted (-9.8pc) to $US34,082 in another typically volatile day.

The cryptocurrency jumped to its highest value ever ($US41,692) on Saturday, prompting some investors to cash out while they were still ahead.

Twitter tanks after Trump ban

Shares in Twitter dropped as much as 12 per cent on Monday (local time), before clawing back some of those losses.

The San Francisco-based social media company said its suspension of Mr Trump's account, which had 88 million followers, was due to the risk of further violence following the storming of the US Capitol last week.

The attention drawn to Twitter increased investors' worries that it could be more exposed to regulation than its bigger rivals Facebook and Alphabet (the owner of Google and YouTube).

Friday's move, accompanied by suspensions for some of Mr Trump's supporters, was the first time Twitter had banned a head of state.

Apple, Alphabet and Amazon also suspended Parler, a social network favoured by many Trump supporters, from their app stores and Web-hosting services, effectively making the service inaccessible.

"These moves, whether you consider them justified or not, could well see them lose further users if they become seen as arbiters of what is considered politically correct or acceptable," said Michael Hewson, chief analyst at CMC Markets UK.

Other social media platforms, including Facebook, have issued similar bans on Mr Trump, but their share price did not fall as hard as Twitter's.

Twitter shares closed 6.4 per cent lower at $US48.18.

In comparison, Facebook shares fell (-4pc) to $US256.84, while Alphabet dropped (-2.3pc) to $US1,756.29.

Freedom of speech concerns

Republican politicians denounced the decision as an attempt to stifle conservative voices, and quell the President's right to free speech.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose relations with Mr Trump have been frosty, has also criticised Twitter's ban and warned through a spokesman that legislators, not private companies, should decide on potential curbs to free expression.

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Australian politicians have also weighed in, with Acting Prime Minister Michael McCormack accusing Twitter of applying double standards.

He disagreed with the social network's suspension of Mr Trump's account, particularly in light of Twitter's decision to leave online a doctored image, drawing attention to the alleged murders of civilians by Australian troops in Afghanistan.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said he "felt pretty uncomfortable" with the decision to de-platform Mr Trump.

However, Liberal backbencher Dave Sharma said Twitter made the "right decision on the facts", but said he was uncomfortable with "the precedent of big tech making decisions about whose speech, and which remarks, are censored and suppressed."

For the opposition, Labor leader Anthony Albanese said it was "about time" social media companies banned Mr Trump.

He also criticised Prime Minister Scott Morrison for failing to condemn Coalition backbencher George Christensen and others spreading mistruths on social media.

In November, Mr Christensen posted on Facebook: "I'm going to say it. Masks and lockdowns don't work", alongside an article he argued supported the point.

Profit taking while still ahead

On Wall Street, The Dow Jones index closed slightly lower (-0.3pc) at 31,009 points.

The benchmark S&P 500 was down (-0.7pc) to 3,800, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq dropped (-1.3pc) to 13,036.

Since November, US markets had surged to record levels thanks to Moderna, Pfizer and AstraZeneca announcing positive vaccine results, and relief that the US election was not as close as initially feared.

Investors are now betting the Democrats (which now control the Presidency, House and Senate) will push for hundreds of billions of dollars in extra stimulus to help the US economy recover from its pandemic-driven slump.

"After a very quick run, people start to get a little bit nervous and take money off the table," said Robert Pavlik, senior portfolio manager at Dakota Wealth.

Boeing fell sharply (-1.5pc) after a 737-500 jet operated by Indonesian Sriwijaya Air crashed on Saturday, with 62 people on board

Meanwhile, Brent crude slipped (-0.9pc) to $US55.48 a barrel, hit by renewed concerns about global fuel demand amid tough coronavirus lockdowns across the globe, as well as the stronger US greenback.

"The renewed concerns about demand due to very high numbers of new corona cases and further mobility restrictions, plus the stronger US dollar, are generating selling pressure," Commerzbank analyst Eugen Weinberg said.

Spot gold was marginally weaker (-0.1pc) at $US1,846.84 an ounce.

ABC/Reuters

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2021-01-11 20:15:00Z
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