June 5, 2008 / 4:26 AM / 12 years ago

Calstrs may remove ban on tobacco stocks: report

A woman smokes a cigarette in an undated file photo. REUTERS/File

(Reuters) - Calstrs, one of the largest U.S. pension funds, may remove its eight-year ban on tobacco stocks as risks in this industry have dimmed, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

The board of the California State Teachers’ Retirement System began deliberating on Wednesday about adding tobacco stocks to its portfolio of more than $160 billion, the newspaper said.

Calstrs divested itself of these stocks in 2000 because of various lawsuits against the industry and looming government regulation, but said missing out on a “market weighting” in tobacco stocks cost it $1 billion in returns in the past several years, the paper said.

It was not clear how much money Calstrs planned to invest in tobacco companies, the newspaper said.

Reporting by Varsha Tickoo in Bangalore; Editing by Ben Tan

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