updated 1/24/2006 7:43:23 PM ET 2006-01-25T00:43:23

A pastor who threatened a national boycott against Microsoft and other major companies for supporting a gay civil rights bill is now urging people to buy up the companies' stock and dump it to drive prices down.

Rev. Ken Hutcherson, pastor of Antioch Bible Church in the Seattle suburb of Redmond, says he wants to use the stock market to make a political point.

But one market expert laughed at the idea. "The chances of him being successful with that are slim to none," said Hans Olsen, chief investment officer at Bingham Legg Advisers.

Hutcherson told The Associated Press last week he was calling for a boycott of the companies, but said Tuesday that the stock-dumping plan, which calls on people to sell the companies' shares on May 1, had been his strategy all along.

"You got to find out how you affect a company," Hutcherson said, conceding that it would be hard to get people to shun products from companies that dominate the marketplace as Microsoft and Boeing do.

"For me to ask people not to buy their product would be stupid," said Hutcherson, whose community is also home to the software company's headquarters. Instead, he wants his supporters to buy one or two shares over the next few months.

"All of us get together on the same day and sell our stock, just run it in the ground," Hutcherson said. "The only way you can deal with these companies is affect their stock."

Several companies, including Microsoft Corp., Boeing Co., Hewlett Packard Co. and Nike Inc. signed a letter earlier this month urging passage of the gay civil rights measure, which would add "sexual orientation" to a state law that already bans discrimination based on race, gender, age, disability, religion, marital status and other factors. (MSNBC is a Microsoft-NBC joint venture.)

Hewlett Packard and Boeing released statements Tuesday reaffirming their support for the measure. None of the other companies immediately returned calls from the AP.

Experts said the pastor's plan has no chance of hurting the stock price of a company such as Microsoft, which has 10.6 billion shares outstanding with a collective value of about $280 billion.

Olsen also said few investors would gamble their money on a political statement, especially big investors, such as those who hold major blocks of shares in mutual funds.

"The big guys, they won't touch that with somebody's else 10-foot pole, let alone their own," Olsen said.

Microsoft's endorsement of the bill comes a year after the company was denounced for quietly dropping its support.

Hutcherson was at the middle of the Microsoft controversy last year, claiming he pressured the company into dropping its support by threatening a boycott.

The company, under fire from gay activists across the country, insisted it had decided to take a neutral stance to focus on other issues.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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