Symantec's stock plummets after announcement of internal audit

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Stocks for cybersecurity giant Symantec took a sharp decline Friday a day after the company disclosed an internal investigation, while providing little information on the subject of the probe.

In a quarterly earnings report Symantec released on Thursday, the company said that an audit committee of its board of directors is looking into “concerns raised by a former employee.” The investigation is in its “early stages,” the company said, adding that its financial results could end up changing based on its outcome.

The company, which counts the popular Norton anti-virus software among its products, published its report minutes after markets closed on Thursday. Its stock prices closed at $29.18 per share and opened Friday morning at about $20 — roughly a 30 percent plummet.

Rosen Law Firm, which specializes in investor rights, announced on Thursday that it is launching a class action lawsuit for of Symantec shareholders who’ve suffered losses as a result of the stock drop. The firm says it’s investigating “potential securities claims” on behalf of investors.

Symantec said in its report that it notified the Securities and Exchange Commission of its audit and says it intends to keep the regulator updated as the investigation goes on.

In the forward-looking statements in Symantec’s report — a section that makes business predictions and acknowledges risks — the company notes the risk that its ongoing internal audit identifies material errors as well as the risk of  “legal proceedings or government investigations” relating to the probe.

In prepared remarks for an earnings call Symantec held Thursday, Cynthia Hiponia, vice president of investor relations, said the company wouldn’t be able to comment on the investigation and that there would be no question and answer session during the call.

The executive also said that the investigation “is not related to any security concern or breach with respect to our products or systems.”

Symantec did not respond to request for comment.

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