Took a lot of heat for the Philip Morris (MO) - Get Report call when I made it, but now you can take some of it off the table -- a 15% move in two days is worth taking something off -- and you can use it to start a grassroots campaign against cigarettes.
They don't care. These days, they would probably support you, given all of the money they spend on trying to get minors
to smoke. This responsible,
social-investing gig is something that will never be resolved in these pages. I can tell you that, as a fund manager, it is simply my job to do my best for shareholders.
My partners do not give me the money to buy criminal enterprises. They give it to me to buy stocks and bonds.
It's funny but in law school I did an analysis of
endowment, pointing out had Harvard sold its South African holdings not only would it have done the right thing, it would have substantially outperformed. And it could have made a real statement.
That's the expedient whammy you want to avoid.
Again, I don't condone smoking. I don't want my kids to smoke. I don't want redlining at banks, but I own some that have been suspected of redlining. I don't want explosives made that end up in terrorists' hands, but I own
. I don't want
to kill the birds near the Haunted Mansion. But I own Disney. And on and on and on.
It is just too hard to figure out what is good and what isn't. It is much easier just to try to do your best to make money for your partners. Philip Morris made money. They are happy. I am happy.
James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. At time of publication, his fund was long Philip Morris, Disney and IMC Global. His fund often buys and sells securities that are the subject of his columns, both before and after the columns are published, and the positions that his fund takes may change at any time. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. Cramer's writings provide insights into the dynamics of money management and are not a solicitation for transactions. While he cannot provide investment advice or recommendations, he invites you to comment on his column at