Market Overview

Anonymous Launches Operations Against Monsanto, Big Oil

File this one under "no rest for the righteous".

Fresh off the release of military and military-contractor info gained from Booz Allen Hamilton (NYSE: BAH), hacker/freedom-fighter group Anonymous announced two more operations today.

One, #OpMonsanto, is a protest against Monsanto (NYSE: MON) to protest the company's lawsuits against organic dairy farmers for stating on labels that their products don't contain growth hormones. They also seek to make public what activists and environmentalists consider the unethical, immoral, and corrupt ways that Monsanto games the political system to spread poison for profit across the globe.

From the Anonymous press release:

Over the last 2 months we have pushed the exposure of hundreds of pages of articles detailing Monsanto's corrupt, unethical, and downright evil business practices. We've created a nice go-to reference guide on piratepad/anonpad (anonpad.org/opmonsanto, backed up elsewhere), where anyone can read up on and add their own info about Monsanto Co.

We blasted their web infrastructure to **** for 2 days straight, crippling all 3 of their mail servers as well as taking down their main websites world-wide. We dropped dox on 2500+ employees and associates, including full names, addresses, phone numbers, and exactly where they work. We are also in the process of setting up a wiki, to try and get all collected information in a more centralized and stable environment. Not bad for 2 months, I'd say.

What's next? Not sure... it might have something to do with that open 6666 IRC port on their nexus server though ;)

Expect Us

The second current Anonymous adventure is called "Operation Green Rights/Project Tarmaggedon,", and will involve Anonymous members going after oil companies who are harming the environment via oil extraction projects in the controversial Alberta, Canada oil sands. These companies include Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM), ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP), Canadian Oil Sands (PINK: COSWF), Imperial Oil (NYSE: IMO), the Royal Bank of Scotland (NYSE: RBS), and many others.

"This week, activists are gathering along U.S. Highway 12 in Montana to protest the transformation of a serene wilderness into an industrial shipping route, bringing 'megaloads' of refinery equipment to the Alberta Tar Sands in Canada," Anonymous said in a press release.

"Anonymous will not stand by idly and let these environmental atrocities continue. This is not the clean energy of the future that we are being promised."

According to CNET.com, the group promised to "use the powers we possess to spread news about this scenario and the corporations involved" and said it was "seeking leaks" on the matter.

Both actions have the ability to affect stocks going forward. The growing momentum of the hacktivist movement Anonymous, coupled with their pivot from "hacking for the lulz" to "hacking for a political, anti-corruption" purpose has given the group credibility in more than just hacking circles. The group has to be considered a political block moving forward, and it's possible that merely the threat of action against certain corporations could move stocks.

ACTION ITEMS:

Bullish:
There are some bullish moves that can come from news like this:

  • Buy Monsanto (NYSE: MON). Why? Anonymous could be overplaying their hand. They might not release useful data, and even what they release may not change profitable policies across the globe. They could also trigger defensive feelings across corporate America in favor of Monsanto.
  • Buy similar stocks, like Potash (NYSE: POT) and Mosaic (NYSE: MOS) on the theory that the entire indusrty will chug along just fine, despite Anonymous.
  • Buy an oil ETF (NYSE: OIL) or some of the oil stocks mentioned by Anonymous, like Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM), ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP), Canadian Oil Sands (PINK: COSWF), Imperial Oil (NYSE: IMO)

Bearish:
If Anonymous really takes off, some of these companies who have been doing unethical things are really screwed.

  • Short any of the above mentioned companies. If Anonymous becomes a political force and exposes some legitimate corruption, those stocks could go into a free-fall. Look at what's happened to Rupert Murdoch's empire the last few days if you doubt the power of information!
  • If Monsanto and genetically modified foods are uncovered as harmful, those stocks could fall in favor of more organic, natural-foods based stocks. Look at Whole Foods (NASDAQ: WHF).
  • If the oil companies take another big hit, another energy source could benefit. Might solar companies benefit from such a swing? Perhaps. Consider (NASDAQ: SOLR) and (NASDAQ: PWER), among others.

Follow me on twitter @johndthorpe

Neither Benzinga nor its staff recommend that you buy, sell, or hold any security. We do not offer investment advice, personalized or otherwise. Benzinga recommends that you conduct your own due diligence and consult a certified financial professional for personalized advice about your financial situation.

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