Big finance feels pressure on Darfur?

Fidelity Investments of Boston is denying that a sharp reduction in holdings of oil companies doing business in Sudan is a result of activist pressure over Darfur. Anne Crowley, a spokeswoman for the mutual-fund giant, said the sales were decided by the managers of individual Fidelity funds. “Fidelity doesn’t tell fund managers how or when to buy or sell any given stock,” she said. Fidelity documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission this week show its ownership of PetroChina Co. shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange declined from about 4.5 million earlier this year to 420,916 as of the end of March—a decrease of more than 90%. (Boston Globe, May 17)

Following in the footsteps of Princeton and other universities, MIT announced this week it will divest from companies believed to be complicit in the Darfur genocide. The move comes after MIT students orchestrated a school-wide push for divestment, collecting over 500 signatures last year requesting “targeted divestment” by December 31. The school’s undergraduate and graduate student governments both voted for divestment by wide margins last year. (Daily Princetonian, May 16)

See our last post on Darfur.