Money manager and popular blogger Josh Brown told CNBC on Wednesday that he “hopes” tobacco giant Altria’s stock eventually “goes to zero.”
“It’s a moral position. I’m not predicting” the shares fall to zero, the CEO of Ritholtz Wealth Management said during an appearance on “Closing Bell.”
“And I would tell anyone watching this [that] they should pay zero attention to anything to do with earnings, revenue, chief growth manager or whatever disgusting term they give the person who is going to run a company that sells poison to children.”
Altria did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment on Brown’s remarks.
Shares of Altria closed down nearly half a percent Wednesday, at around $40 per share. Earlier in the day, the company announced it had ended merger talks with Philip Morris International that would have created a $200 billion global behemoth.
Altria’s investment in vaping in e-cigarette company Juul has soured as regulators look to ban its popular fruit-flavored pods from the market. Regulatory scrutiny has intensified amid an outbreak of a deadly lung disease linked to vaping that has sickened at least 530 people and killed 11.
When asked whether it should be treated like alcohol and oil companies, Brown said, “I don’t think it’s the same at all.”
“We don’t need this. Shut it down. It’s enough,” Brown, who is also a CNBC contributor, said later on vaping. He added people who want to quit smoking can go back to the patch and gum.
“There is no investment case to be made for companies that will not be a part of the portfolios of the future. People are not investing money into companies like this,” Brown said.
He suggested that investors currently in tobacco stocks can own an index instead. “You can own anything other than this.”
“These are the types of stocks that are getting kicked out of portfolios, millions of people’s portfolio’s at a time,” Brown added. “It’s not about the business, the execution, none of that is the point of what I’m saying. What I’m suggesting is you can own the index and you can X out stocks like this.”