Amazon Hits the Skies: Tech Winners & Losers

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NEW YORK ( TheStreet) –– Amazon.com shares spiked 5.0% to $344.21 after the company announced that it was beginning to test its drone delivery program.

In a letter to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) earlier this week, Amazon Vice President of Global Public Policy Paul Misener asked that the company be permitted to begin testing drones near its Seattle R&D center. "We believe customers will love it, and we are committed to making Prime Air available to customers worldwide as soon as we are permitted to do so," Misener wrote. Amazon Prime Air, he said, "is one invention we are incredibly passionate about."

Commercial use of drones is mostly banned--only two are permitted to operate, both in Alaska--but Amazon is asking the FAA to make an exception. They would run tests only in "a confined area over isolated Amazon private property,", away from aviation activity and densely populated areas. "Amazon would prefer to keep the focus, jobs, and investment of this important research and development initiative in the United States," Mr. Misener wrote.

The drone program was first revealed by CEO Jeff Bezos in an interview with Charlie Rose on CBS’s  60 Minutes  in December 2013. "I know this looks like science fiction," Bezos said at the time. “It’s not.”

Soon after the interview, Amazon  posted on its website that the company hoped the program, called Prime Air, would be available as soon as the FAA completes its policies for unmanned aerial vehicles. "We hope the FAA's rules will be in place as early as sometime in 2015," the website read.


Shares of 500.com rose 5.0% to $34.90 after the resignation of the company’s Chief Risk Officer.

500.com, an online sports lottery service provider in China, announced that its Chief Risk Officer and Investor Relations Director, Anthony Liu, would resign from his position effective this Monday. He will “pursue other professional opportunities” and the company has begun searching for his replacement.

"I want to express my gratitude to Mr. Liu for his extraordinary contributions to the Company over the past three years," Man San Law, Chairman and CEO, said in a statement. "Mr. Liu has been a valued colleague and was instrumental in bringing our financial controls up to global standards during the Company's IPO process. We wish Mr. Liu all the best in his future endeavors."

500.com, based in Shenzhen, went public in November 2013.


EBay shares rose 2.5% to $51.59 after reports of strong sales.

E-commerce market research shop ChannelAdvisor CEO Scott Wingo reported that eBay’s same-store sales grew 12.3% in June, up from 11% in May. Same-store sales fell 19% in auctions, rose 18.4% for fixed-price sales, and rose 10.4% in motors.

According to Wingo, these results indicate that eBay is recovering from its problems this May, including a cyber-attack and Google Panda, the updated Google  search algorithm, which stripped the online auction company of a large number of its search results.