Sunday, March 3, 2024
HomestocksApple, Amazon downgraded 'on moral and ethical grounds'

Apple, Amazon downgraded ‘on moral and ethical grounds’

One analyst blacklisted several companies on Monday, citing a reason not often (or possibly ever) heard on Wall Street—moral and ethical grounds.

In the report, Ronnie Moas, Standpoint Research's founder and director of research, downgraded Apple stock from a "hold" to a "sell," reiterated a "sell" recommendation for shares and initiated Philip Morris stock with a "sell" rating.

After holding in his feelings for "too long," Moas wrote that he couldn't sleep despite taking his nightly sleeping pill. At 1 a.m., he reached his boiling point and felt compelled to speak his mind.

Moas' Standpoint bio page states he began his career as an analyst and market strategist at Herzog Heine Geduld, which was bought by Merrill Lynch in 2002, before leaving to start his own firm in 2000. Before this, he served for three years in the Israeli army and worked in concert productions.

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"For Apple Computers to pay their workers $2 an hour while they have $150 billion in the bank is nothing short of obscene. I heard all of the arguments in their defense and they make no sense to me," wrote Moas in the note.

Thomson Reuters StarMine, which tracks and ranks analysts' performance, has no record of Moas' recommendations on Apple. According to published reports, he downgraded the stock in August from "buy" on valuation concerns.

While Moas said there are dozens (if not hundreds) of companies he would like to blacklist, he singled out just three in the report, noting that he planned to speak his mind even if it resulted in the destruction of his business.

"Philip Morris has the black lungs and blood of 500,000,000 people on their hands," he wrote, acknowledging that his email was controversial and would upset many.

"I recently read something about Amazon and how much pressure is on their employees … and at the same time Jeff Bezos with his obscene net worth of $27 bln was on his yacht in the Galapagos Islands. $27 bln and this man is not treating his workers fairly? It boggles the mind," Moas wrote.

—By CNBC's Katie Little. Follow her on Twitter @KatieLittle

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