Chipotle shares surge on reports that CDC might declare E. coli outbreak over

Chipotle E Coli outbreak over

Shares in Chipotle jumped 5% in premarket trading on Monday following reports that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), may soon declare that the E. coli outbreak at the popular Mexican food chain is over.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the CDC may make such an announcement as early as Monday.

While the CDC might be willing to call an end to the outbreak, the report says both Chipotle and the CDC are still unsure where the outbreak began.

Chipotle has already warned that same-store sales plummeted in the fourth quarter as the E. coli outbreak — which has affected 53 customers in nine states since the end of October — caused many customers to avoid the fast casual dining establishment.

Overall sales declines are expected to reach upwards of 6% in the fourth quarter and Wall Street analysts believe earnings per share will plunge by more than 50%.

Chipotle’s stock is down nearly 30% since the initial reports of the outbreak and is trading 40% below last summer’s all-time high.

The company was also hit with a norovirus outbreak that sickened 200 customers in Simi Valley, California in August. Chipotle also suffered a salmonella outbreak tied to tomatoes in Minnesota in August and in September made more than 60 customers fell ill as well.

On February 8, Chipotle will close all of its restaurants for a few hours as all employees undergo new food safety training.

Chipotle shares have bounced back 15% from their lows in recent weeks.