Apple, Amazon stock rating cut for ‘moral reasons’ … do you agree?

Here is a Lunesta commercial bashing other products.
Was it a “Jerry Maguire” moment of moral clarity, or just a grumpy blow-up at some easy corporate targets?

Standpoint Research founder and research director Ronnie Moas issued a note Monday cutting his rating on Apple Inc. to sell and advising investors to also sell Inc. AMZN and Philip Morris International Inc. PM for purely moral and ethical reasons.

“For Apple Computers to pay their [overseas] workers $2 an hour while they have $150 billion in the bank is nothing short of obscene. I’ve heard all of the arguments in their defense, and they make no sense to me,” Moas wrote in a research note out Monday.

Moas, a former strategist at Herzog Heine Geduld and Israeli army veteran, acknowledged that the note would be controversial and could threaten his business, but said: ”I am so upset that I can no longer remain silent.”

Moas criticized Amazon for pressuring their employees while founder Jeff Bezos spends time “on his yacht in the Galapagos Islands” and enjoys a net worth of $27 billion. Philip Morris, meanwhile, “has the black lungs and blood of 500 million people on their hands,” he said. Moas already had a sell rating on Amazon, and had no previous rating on Philip Morris shares, according to a CNBC report on the note.

The text of the note included a good number of emphatic comments — “There are dozens (if not hundreds) of companies I would like to put on my Blacklist but I will start and end it with these three,” for example.

Moas also delved into his personal life in explaining why he decided to speak out against the firms: “I took a Lunesta sleeping pill a few hours ago as I have been nearly every night for the last five years. … It helps keep me looking young and more productive in the afternoon and evening. … On this night, nothing could have put me to sleep.”

He also said watching the recently released Martin Scorsese film “The Wolf of Wall Street” helped reinforce his views on “the obscene excess and relative comfort enjoyed by the top 1%-2% … many of whom are greedy and selfish.”

Moas clearly feels strongly about what he sees as the shortcomings of corporate culture, not merely issuing the research note, but also appearing Monday on CNBC and, according to the note, booking an appearance on Bloomberg Television for next week.

Do you agree with Moas? Take our MarketWatch readers’ poll below and then see what other readers think…



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