Late yesterday one of the midnight-oil-burning "Squawk Box" producers runs over to my desk asking, "Hey, is this J and J thing a big deal?" I said, "What J and J thing?" "Check the wires," he said. Here's what I saw:
"J&J to take $4.4 billion charge
LOS ANGELES, Nov 29 (Reuters)
NEW YORK (AP) - Johnson & Johnson expects to record a $4.4 billion one-time charge in the fourth quarter….
Yikes! You bet a $4.4 billion write-down is a big deal. I immediately instant messaged Dylan Ratigan who was anchoring "Fast Money" live from the Nasdaq and he quickly got the story on the air and it moved the stock. Check out this bullet from Reuters:
JOHNSON & JOHNSON
SHARES DROP 1.7 PCT TO $67.25
AFTERHOURS ON NEWS OF $4.4 BLN CHARGE
I then called JNJ's media relations department to try to get some details. An assistant took a message and within minutes spokesman Bill Price called me back. And I never get calls returned that quickly from JNJ. Price told me the company made a mistake in an 8-K filing it had just made with the Securities and Exchange Commission. He called it a "conversion error" (whatever that means), but it looks to me like someone somehow put in an extra digit.