U.S. market futures were flat in opening trading Monday, with the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrials largely unchanged before the opening bell, while oil prices slid about 1.5% to $46.95 a barrel, based on U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate.
Herbalife (HLF) shares were up as much as 4% in premarket trading as the ongoing Bill Ackman-Carl Icahn feud over the nutrition-products distributor heated up after Icahn disclosed late Friday he's continuing to put his money where his mouth is by gobbling up 2.3 million more shares.
In early 2013 the billionaire activist was quick to counter a $1 billion short position unveiled by Bill Ackman's Pershing Square hedge fund in late 2012, and the two have ever since contested the integrity of Herbalife's business model. But the spat was rekindled in July with an FTC ruling that Herbalife would need to pay a roughly $200 million fine and reorder some of its businesses. Icahn said the decision validates Herbalife's business as nothing like the sort of "pyramid scheme" Ackman alleges, while Ackman argues the decision essentially equates to a shut down of Herbalife.
"I continue to believe in Herbalife: it's a great model that creates a great number of jobs for people. Ackman may be a smart guy but he has clearly succumbed to the same dangerous (and sometimes fatal) malady that afflicts many investors - he's developed a very bad case of "Herbalife obsession,'" Icahn said in a Friday statement.
Meanwhile, shares of Mylan (MYL) were up more than 2% before the opening bell after the drugmaker announced it will begin offering a generic version of EpiPen for $300, representing a 50% discount from current prices. EpiPen is the injectionable allergy treatment that caught the public ire last week after a Wednesday announcement by a Senate special committee requesting answers over a "drastic price increase" on the drug, whose prices have risen 480% to roughly $600 since 2008.
Mylan was quick to slash its prices Thursday with savings cards, after Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton called Mylan's policies "outrageous" and a "troubling" example of putting shareholders ahead of patient interests.
"We understand the deep frustration and concerns associated with the cost of EpiPen to the patient, and have always shared the public's desire to ensure that this important product be accessible to anyone who needs it." Mylan CEO Heather Bresch said in a Monday statement.
Whiting Petroleum (WLL) shares were down about 2% in premarket trading on the slump in oil prices, despite crude climbing nearly 18% so far in August. The Denver-based oil and gas exploration company has been able to capitalize on the recent gains, with its shares also up about 18% on the month.
Harley-Davidson (HOG) shares were down about 2% following a ratings cut to Underperform by analysts with Longbow Research. The company most recently missed earnings and sales expectations by about 1% with its second-quarter earnings release in July, with CEO Matthew Levatich noting 2016 shipments are likely to be lower than previously expected.
"While our share gains helped to blunt the full impact of this weak market, lackluster industry sales have had a significant impact on our results and our forward expectations," he said on an earnings call with analysts. "This is largely due to what we believe will be continued pressure on industry growth in the U.S. coupled with caution as we consider the potential impact of the macro economic uncertainty on sales globally."