Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) plummeted last Friday, wiping out nearly $40 billion worth of value in one day after a damaging Reuters report.
The stock fell more than 10 percent, ($14 a share) on the explosive report that the drug and consumer products company knew for decades that its baby talcum powder was contaminated with asbestos.
Reuters said an examination of company memos and other documents found the company was well aware of small amounts of the carcinogenic in the powder.
According to Market Watch:
“The documents showed that internally, executives, mine managers, scientists, doctors and lawyers were worried about the problem of its raw talc and finished powders testing positive for the substance. But they denied all claims until they were compelled to share thousands of pages of documents with lawyers, representing some 11,700 plaintiffs who claim the talc gave them cancer, including thousands of women with ovarian cancer, the report found.”
If it’s found that Johnson & Johnson did know and was responsible for potential cancer in users of the product, that $14 drop will be the least of its concerns.
With the story still fresh, fear is disseminating quickly, forcing the stock lower.
However, it may have been an overreaction to “fake news.”
On Monday, Johnson & Johnson took out a full-page ad in the New York Times. According to the company, the Reuters article is “one-sided and inflammatory.”
“Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder is safe and asbestos-free. Studies of more than 100,000 men and women show that talc does not cause cancer or asbestos-related disease. Thousands of independent tests by regulators and the world’s leading labs prove our baby powder has never contained asbestos. J&J attorneys provided Reuters with hundreds of documents and directly responded to dozens of questions in order to correct misinformation and falsehoods.”
As the true facts of the story become more apparent, shares of Johnson & Johnson could very well become a “blood in the streets” opportunity.
Stay tuned for more on this quickly developing story.