Shares of Toledo's Owens-Illinois, Inc. fell $3.71 or 21 percent Wednesday and yesterday as investors sold the stock following the company's announcement that it was again increasing its estimate for settling asbestos liability lawsuits.
Nearly 5 million shares - four times the usual two-day volume - have changed hands on the New York Stock Exchange since the company late Tuesday said it had taken a $475-million accounting charge in the first quarter to increase its asbestos-liability reserve.
It was the second time in two years the company increased the estimate. O-I shares closed down $2.70 at $14.25 yesterday.
Executives of the bottle and jar manufacturer have said the firm's financial position is sound, and that O-I won't be forced into bankruptcy like many other asbestos producers. Standard & Poor's said Wednesday the asbestos reserve increase "raises concerns because the liability has exceeded earlier estimates and suggests that Owens-Illinois' obligations relative to asbestos may decline more slowly than previously expected."