U.S. markets were up moderately in premarket trading Thursday, with S&P 500 and Dow Jones futures rising 0.2% and 0.3%, respectively. Meanwhile, crude oil ticked up about 0.1% to $41.74 a barrel, based on U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate.
Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX) shares were down roughly 10% before the opening bell, following reports that controversy surrounding the drugmaker's former partnership with mail-order pharmacy Philidor has resurfaced in the form of a criminal investigation.
Citing people familiar with the matter, The Wall Street Journal said federal prosecutors are investigating whether Valeant "defrauded insurers" by obfuscating its relationship with Philidor to boost sales. Valeant has so far admitted to roughly $58 million of improperly booked sales tied to Philidor, and its newly seated CEO, Joseph Papa, has hoped to put issues surrounding Valeant hiking its drug prices to exorbitant levels and using Philidor as a distribution system behind it.
Valeant shares are down more than 90% over the past 12 months following SEC probes into the Canadian drugmaker's ties with Philidor, Congressional and SEC probes into price hikes, as well as the delay in the company's filings with the SEC.
Shares of Chesapeake Energy (CHK) , a member of Real Money's Stressed Out watch list, were up about 6% before the opening bell after announcing it will sell for an undisclosed amount its Barnett Shale operating area in North Texas to Saddle Barnett Resources, which is backed by private-equity firm First Reserve.
Chesapeake said that the company will be able to use the proceeds to reduce about $1.9 billion of midstream and downstream commitments and to boost reserves.
Shake Shack (SHAK) shares were down roughly 7% in premarket trading after the New York-based fast-food chain reported slower same-store sales growth. However, the company's posted top-and bottom-line beats for the second quarter. Earnings per share of $0.14 topped analysts' estimates by a penny, and revenue of $66.5 million topped forecasts of $63.2 million. Shake Shack is planning to open 18 new U.S. restaurants in 2017, above the 16 originally forecast.
Alibaba (BABA) shares were up about 4% in premarket trading on news that the Chinese e-commerce giant booked quarterly EPS of $4.90, 17% above consensus forecasts, on sales of $32.15 billion, which clocked in about 7% above consensus estimates.