My British Petroleum (BP) Investment Caused Me Mental Anguish and Rand Paul is an Huge Schmuck

My British Petroleum (BP) Investment Caused Me Mental Anguish and Rand Paul is an Huge Schmuck

I finally dumped my British Petroleum stake yesterday and now I can sleep again.

I have been investing in equities my entire life.  Many of my investments have not been good, but they have always let me sleep well at night.  I am not sort of religious zealot, but I wouldn't even dream of investing in Altria (MO) and I made decisions at certain points to divest myself of GE and Nike.  There is no experience that I have ever had that compares to the experience of owning BP over the last week.

At various points over the last several years, I acquired a position in British Petroleum.  It was (and is) a bigger dividend payer than the other major oil companies and seemed to have a more reasonable valuation.  When news of the Gulf oil spill broke last month, I was initially inclined to believe that BP was acting responsibly and that it was just one big disaster that may not even have been BP's fault.  I held the stock, even though my general rule is that when you hear of any sort of a crisis in a company you "sell first, ask questions later." 

I now see a company acting environmentally irresponsibly in light of the biggest environmental disaster that the developed world has ever seen.  I see Tony Hayward, BP's CEO, as an incompetent liar trying to sugar coat a tragedy that was avoidable and that will change the ecosystem of the Gulf and the Atlantic for generations.  I see a company spilling huge amounts of dispersant chemicals into the Ocean in a desperate effort to lessen the PR impact of having the world see large clumps of oil cover wetlands.  I see a nightmare and a bunch of self-serving Cambridge-educated executives trying to protect their cushy London jobs, but without a clue what they are doing.

Over the last week, my view has also changed on what the US government should be doing.  I actually think that the US should be nationalizing BP's assets in order to pay for this (I also thought that the appropriate response after 9-11 would have been to seize Saudi's oil assets).

By yesterday afternoon, my position became squarely opposed to my equity position in BP.  I sold it at a huge loss at 43.80.  I may have sold it at the low.  It may move much higher, but I am going to sleep much better. 

 

Jason Rodgers
Jason Rodgers: Jason Rodgers was an experienced research analyst for a major bank prior to retiring to run his own investment consultancy in beautiful Lihue, Hawaii. Jason contributed articles to BestCashCow from 2008 to 2014.

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