Here’s Why Shares of Lumber Liquidators Are Crashing

February 22, 2016, 2:02 PM UTC
Traders wait for shares of Lumber Liquidators to begin trading on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange
Traders wait for shares of Lumber Liquidators to begin trading on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Photograph by Brendan McDermid — Reuters

Lumber Liquidators Holdings’ (LL) shares were set to tumble on Monday after a revised U.S. federal agency report showed people exposed to some types of the company’s laminate flooring were three times more likely to get cancer than previously estimated.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Feb. 18 it estimated the risk of cancer was 6 to 30 cases per 100,000 people, compared with the two to nine cases it had estimated in a Feb. 10 report. The CDC said the revised results were preliminary.

Lumber Liquidators’ shares were set to open more than 16% lower on Monday, which would be the stock’s biggest intraday percentage drop in six months.

The CDC said it had used an incorrect value to calculate ceiling height, which meant its estimates of the airborne concentration of cancer-causing formaldehyde were about three times lower than they should have been.

60 Minutes reported on Sunday it was alerted to the possibility that scientists had not converted feet to meters in some calculations.


Lumber Liquidators was not available for comment outside regular business hours. It had supported the recommendations of the CDC’s previous report on the safety of flooring made in China between 2012 and 2014.

The company’s’ shares and sales have been in a tailspin since March last year when 60 Minutes reported the retailer’s laminates from China contained excessive levels of formaldehyde.

Up to Friday’s close of $14.21, Lumber Liquidators’ shares had risen 17.5% since the CDC’s initial report. But they are still down 79% since the company had in late February last year warned of the CBS report.

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