STOCKS FALL, VALEANT CRASHES: Here's what you need to know

Stocks had a mostly sideways trade once again this week.

This wasn’t the case for biotechs, with Valeant shares being halted severally and plunging by as much as 30% after a scathing report from a short seller.

First, the scoreboard:

  • Dow: 17,214.90, -2.21, (-0.01%)
  • S&P 500: 2,023.51, -7.26, (-0.36%)
  • Nasdaq: 4,853.75, -27.22, (-0.56%)

And now, Wednesday’s top stories:

  1. Short-selling firm Citron Research asked whether Valeant Pharmaceuticals was the next Enron. That, and allegations that the company cooked its books, sent the stock down as much as 30% in trading. Citron alleged that Valeant used its relationship with the pharmacy Philidor to file fake invoices that inflated its real revenues. Investors did not even know that Valeant had the option to buy Philidor until CEO Michael Pearson disclosed it on the earnings call. In response, Valeant said in a statement that all sales to Philidor and its network pharmacies were not included in the consolidated financial results that it reports externally.
  2. Valeant is popular with hedge funds. And so, today wasn’t good for some hedge funds that own Valeant. Especially for Pershing Square’s Bill Ackman, who owned 5.7% of shares as of the second quarter, and likely lost more than $US1 billion on paper. Ackman bought the dip: Two million more shares, and did not sell a single share today, according to CNBC. He said he still believed in the company. But also, the stock just got cheaper.
  3. Ferrari jumped 15% in its trading debut, opening at $US60 a share. Its initial-public-offering price was $US52, at the higher end of the expected range of $US48 to $US52. The ticker RACE was up about 7% near the final 15 minutes of trading, giving it a market cap of about $US10.54 billion.
  4. And now for earnings: Coca-Cola’s revenues fell 5% in the third quarter, as the strong dollar continued to be a headwind for overseas sales. Adjusted earnings per share of $US0.51 beat expectations for $US0.50. CEO Muhtar Kent said the company remained confident in its strategies “despite a continued challenging macro environment”.
  5. Boeing’s profits jumped 25%, boosted by a rise in commercial aircraft deliveries. The company earned $US1.70 billion, or $US2.47 per share, beating estimates. Commercial aircraft deliveries rose about 7% to 199.
  6. Biogen reported earnings, and layoffs. Revenues rose 11% to $US2.8 billion, and diluted earnings per share were $US4.15, beating estimates for both. Biogen plans to lay off 11% of its workforce as part of a restructuring. It also discontinued a number of programs, including the Phase 3 program for the multiple sclerosis drug Tecfidera.
  7. Baker Hughes posted a smaller-than-expected loss of $US0.36 per diluted share. “Consistent with our earlier forecast, we expect further activity reductions and pricing pressures to continue across the globe for well construction for the remainder of the year, as our customers adapt their spending to the lower oil price environment,” the company said.
  8. And finally, Western Digital is buying SanDisk for $US19 billion. SanDisk shareholders will get $US85.10 in cash and 0.0176 in shares of the storage-hardware maker WD. They intend to cut costs through the merger and introduce a broader set of products.

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