There's been a lot of ink spilled recently on congressional representatives and their private investments--and whether rules governing member stock ownership should be changed. If you've been following the issue, you know lawmakers aren't prohibited from acting on the kind of insider information they tend to get about companies. And representatives and their aides have repeatedly profited off stock trades in industries they oversee, as the Wall Street Journal reports.
Well, OpenSecrets.org has compiled the data on which stocks are most popular among members of Congress. It shouldn't be a huge surprise that Big Pharma figures in; even with the industry's subpar performance in the equity markets in recent years, drug stocks are still considered decent investments, especially those that offer reliable dividends. But given how intertwined pharma and government are--from drug approvals to Medicare reimbursements--the idea that lawmakers could profit off inside info isn't too far-fetched.
The most popular drug stocks in Congress? Pfizer ($PFE), the perennial dividend-payer, stands in 6th place with 61 House and Senate members invested. Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) is in 8th place with 54 invested members. Merck ($MRK) and Abbott Laboratories ($ABT) occupy 22nd and 24th place, respectively. Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY), Amgen ($AMGN) and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries ($TEVA) also made the top 50.