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Baby Powder Cancer Suits Cloud Johnson and Johnson

 

Fact is, we live in a very litigious society. That’s why you have to sign away your life with wavers just to play a three-on-three tournament at your local rec center. These blood, I mean lawyers, sometimes take on cases just to get their name out there. I mean, right now there’s a lady suing Starbucks SBUX because they put too much ice in her Iced Tea. Hey, lady, did you try asking for easy ice? Maybe the barista likes my beard game a little bit but around here they seem pretty accommodating while hooking up my trenta iced coffee.

Johnson and Johnson JNJ is elbow deep in legislation right now. In February, JNJ had to shell out $72 million to the family of an Alabama woman who died of ovarian cancer claiming their baby powder and talcum products were to blame. Yesterday, a jury ordered the company to pay $55 million to another plaintiff alleging the products caused her to develop ovarian cancer. The case is one of about 1,200 lawsuits the company is being slapped with because of baby powder.

Say it ain’t so. Baby powder causing cancer? Are you telling me that the tingling sensation I’m getting with Sanofy's SNY Gold Bond is actually a bad thing? Should I be reconsidering the Bayer BAYRY Dr. Sholls I’ve been using on my feet for years? I can’t keep my closet full of Jordan’s fresh without a little help from Church and Dwight's CHD Arm and Hammer. Maybe there’s a trend here. Easy on the white powder people. Baby powder, cancer. Sugar, diabetes. Tylenol, liver failure. Excedrin, ulcers. And I haven’t even mentioned the obvious white powders you should be avoiding.

To put the ruling in perspective, $72 million pales in comparison to the $17.9 billion in sales for JNJ last quarter. Analysts really aren’t worried about the lawsuits though. Eleven analysts have increased their earnings estimates for the next year. The bullish attitude has pushed up our Zacks Consensus Estimate from $6.85 to $6.99. The current year consensus has also jumped, moving from $6.50 to $6.59 as ten analysts have increased their earnings estimates. Both of these are big reasons why it’s a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) right now.

The stock has been on fire since bottoming out in August along with the rest of the market. The recent push off the January lows near $94 has taken the stock to fresh highs just under $114. With the commodity channel index indicator coming down from over 200 to the zero line, I’d be looking for a bounce in the short term here as long as it doesn’t break. This is exactly the sort of set-up I like to trade in my Momentum Trader service here at Zacks. I look for stocks breaking out to new highs that take a breather on a pullback. You can click below for more info.


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