Do you think about where your money goes when you go to a fast-food chain to buy a sandwich or your favorite retailer to pick up a t-shirt? If you are like most people, probably not. However, you probably should if you care at all for the fate of gay rights in America, because as America recently became aware, some very powerful corporations are contributing large sums of money to both sides of the debate.
On the pro-gay rights side are a number of tech firms and other companies located in Northern California and the Pacific Northwest. Earlier this year, Amazon (AMZN) CEO Jeff Bezos announced that he would be donating $2.5 million dollars to a pro-gay marriage lobbying group that was fighting to block a referendum that would ban gay marriage in the Washington state. Bill Gates and Microsoft (MSFT) CEO Steve Ballmer also donated $100,000 each to the same initiative. Microsoft has a long history of standing for equal rights dating back to 1993 when they became the first Fortune 500 company to grant equal benefits to gay and lesbian employees. Google (GOOG), Starbucks (SBUX), and Apple (AAPL) have also all been financially invested or public stated their support for equality in California and Washington.
General Mills, Inc (GIS) is also publicly pro-gay rights. Video:”General Mills Anti-Gay Protest Gone Wrong”
These companies would not have to donate and campaign if there was not serious opposition coming from other strong entities. Leading the charge in this respect most notably is Chick-fil-A, but there are also a number of publicly traded companies that donate in the same manner. Urban Outfitters (URBN) is among these, as President and CEO Richard Payne made contributions to Rick Santorum’s presidential campaign. If Exxon Mobil (XOM) was not detestable enough before, they also happen to be the only Fortune 10 Company whose non-discrimination policy does not cover sexual orientation. Finally, and perhaps most despicably, Jim Walton or Wal-Mart (WMT) fame donated $75,000 to an Arkansas group that campaigned to prevent gay couples from adopting.
Business Section: Investment Ideas
How have these companies fared of late? The firms mentioned that have acted in favor of gay rights are up on average 21% year-to-date, while the companies against gay rights are up an average 13%. We assembled a list with more information on all these companies below. Use this to start your research. (Correlation does not imply causation)
1. Apple Inc. (AAPL, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Designs, manufactures, and markets personal computers, mobile communication and media devices, and portable digital music players, as well as sells related software, services, peripherals, networking solutions, and third-party digital content and applications worldwide. Market cap at $581.06B, most recent closing price at $619.86. This company is pro-gay rights.
2. Starbucks Corporation (SBUX, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Operates approximately 16,858 stores, including 8,833 company-operated stores and 8,025 licensed stores. Market cap at $34.42B, most recent closing price at $45.29. This company is pro-gay rights.
3. Microsoft Corporation (MSFT, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Google is the world’s most popular search engine. Market cap at $210.03B, most recent closing price at $642.23. This company is pro-gay rights.
5. Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Operates as an online retailer in North America and internationally. Market cap at $105.96B, most recent closing price at $234.38. This company is pro-gay rights.
6. Urban Outfitters Inc. (URBN, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Operates lifestyle specialty retail stores under the Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, Free People, Terrain, Leifsdottir, and BHLDN brands. Market cap at $4.48B, most recent closing price at $30.91. This company is anti-gay rights.
7. Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Engages in the exploration and production of crude oil and natural gas, and manufacture of petroleum products, as well as transportation and sale of crude oil, natural gas, and petroleum products. Market cap at $407.5B, most recent closing price at $88.28. This company is anti-gay rights.
8. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Operates retail stores in various formats worldwide. Market cap at $251.43B, most recent closing price at $74.31. This company is anti-gay rights.
Written by Dan Connelly
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- Apple Inc. (AAPL, Chart, Download SEC Filings)
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- Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN, Chart, Download SEC Filings)
- Urban Outfitters Inc. (URBN, Chart, Download SEC Filings)
- Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM, Chart, Download SEC Filings)
- Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT, Chart, Download SEC Filings)
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