Pebble x Ukraine: Using Our App To Send A Strong Message Over Ukraine

As the pointless war grinds on with its terribleness, the Ukrainians, against the grain of some people's expectations, still don't seem inclined to give up their country.

Quite the opposite actually. A fact that might not be too surprising for anyone who had previously known any Ukrainians.

Equally unsurprisingly perhaps, it is becoming increasingly difficult not to take sides, even for the ever neutral Swiss.

Staying nonaligned is proving nearly as difficult for companies as it is for countries.

We have twice previously made the argument that we were not necessarily recommending excluding any companies from the S&P 500 for two reasons:

  1. It seemed premature and a bit distasteful considering the context.

  2. And most of them would be leaving shortly anyway.

But after some patience and also some careful analysis we have found a few companies that are not just staying in Russia but also quietly trying to make a profit from the new global economic context.

They are the three global oil service groups:

  1. Baker Hughes

  2. Halliburton

  3. Schlumberger

These are sizable corporations. They come in at numbers' 250, 257 and 259 by market cap weight in the S&P 500 and considering the direction of oil prices and its impact on their share prices, they will likely be rising the ranks in the months ahead.

  • If you continued to be appalled by the war and find it not just the idea that companies are remaining but profiting from the conflict, then excluding these companies might be an easy and satisfying way to send a very clear message.

Now, it is true that there are other large Western companies continuing to operate in Russia.

But, we think there is meaningful difference between a company like Pepsi (or the European Danone) that is still open for business because it supplies milk and other basic goods to regular Russian people versus large petrochemical firms. The latter are not just making billions servicing Russian oil fields but also are direct partners with state backed (and heavily sanctioned) oil firms like Rosneft and Gazprom.

As we have written before, every barrel of oil sold by Russia directly fuels the war in Ukraine. It really isn't much more complicated than that. Commodity exports are their only remaining source of hard dollar income and oil and natural gas are the top earners in that category.

Excluding three out of 500 companies won't damage your returns much, even if those companies are having a good run. But it will send a powerful message into those boardrooms, especially if you publicize your stance using our easy functionality.

We have already witnessed what real outrage and some solidarity can achieve in the last month. Now you can send a clear message about the types of compromises that have gotten us into this mess in the first place.


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