Why Did Altria Stock Fall ~4.8% on April 3?

FDA announcement

On April 3, the FDA announced that it’s investigating reports that some people who use e-cigarettes have experienced seizures after smoking. The FDA received 35 reports that people, especially young adults, have suffered a seizure after using e-cigarettes between 2010 to early 2019.

Why Did Altria Stock Fall ~4.8% on April 3?

Although seizures or convulsions are side effects of nicotine poisoning, the FDA hasn’t found a direct relationship between using e-cigarettes and seizures.

In a written statement, the FDA said, “We want to be clear that we don’t yet know if there’s a direct relationship between the use of e-cigarettes and a risk of seizure. We can’t yet say for certain that e-cigarettes are causing these seizures. We’re sharing this early information with the public because as a public health agency, it’s our job to communicate about potential safety concerns associated with the products we regulate that are under scientific investigation by the agency. This also helps encourage the public to voluntarily report additional adverse events that can better inform our work.”

Stock performance

The FDA’s announcement caused Altria’s (MO) stock price to fall. On April 3, the company’s stock price fell to a low of $53.43 before closing the day at $53.98—a fall of 4.8% from the closing price of $56.69 on April 2. On April 3, Philip Morris International (PM) and British American Tobacco’s (BTI) stock price fell 2.5% and 2.8%, respectively.

Despite the fall on April 3, Altria has returned 9.3% YTD (year-to-date). During the same period, Philip Morris and British American Tobacco have returned 28.5% and 26.4%, respectively. The Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLP), which invests 8.7% of its holdings in cigarette and tobacco companies, has returned 8.7%.