J&J shares rise despite $572M Okla. verdict in opioid trial

Johnson & Johnson investors exhaled in relief Tuesday morning, pushing up shares about 3% after an Oklahoma judge imposed a $572 million verdict late Monday for the health care giant’s role in the nation’s opioid crisis.

Investors had been holding their breath during a seven-week trial in which the state of Oklahoma, calling J&J a “kingpin” in the epidemic, sought up to $17 billion to help the state fight the problem.

The much-smaller verdict, and J&J’s immediate response that the verdict was “flawed” and it will appeal, reassured investors, for now.

“The risk of a loss was already baked into the stock price,” and this verdict doesn’t set a precedent for other cases, noted Erik Gordon, an analyst and professor at University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.

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