What you need to know on Wall Street right now

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The verdict is in: Herbalife is not a pyramid scheme.

The Federal Trade Commission on Friday announced it reached an agreement with the multilevel marketing firm that kept it from being labelled that way.

But the activist investor Bill Ackman, who placed a $1 billion short on the company in 2012, disagrees. He says
the FTC’s findings still constitute a pyramid scheme, despite the regulator not using the term.

Herbalife’s stock soared on Friday nonetheless — good news for the hedge fund manager Carl Icahn, who holds an 18% stake in the company. In other words, it looks like the epic war between Bill Ackman and Carl Icahn is over, and Icahn won.

In banks news, Citi and Wells Fargo reported second-quarter earnings Friday. Citi’s results were a beat, while Wells Fargo came in right in line with analyst expectations.

Here are the top Wall Street headlines at midday:

The Herbalife saga shows that Bill Ackman thinks he’s too good for short selling — Ackman’s promise to ride the stock all the way down took away the only magic power a short seller has: the ability to manipulate time.

America’s biggest bank just proved the economy has plenty of fuel — Wells Fargo’s C&I loans grew by $39 billion, or 14%, from the year before. Commercial real-estate loans also increased by $10.7 billion, or 8%.

Wall Street firm epically fulfils its duty to clients in a research note about Trump’s wall — Analysts at Bernstein broke down what it would cost to construct the 40-foot-tall wall between the US and Mexico that US presidential candidate Donald Trump has promised to build if he were elected.

Warren Buffett’s favourite bank thinks your rent may be about to go down — Wells Fargo thinks your pocketbook may be getting some relief if you rent your living space.

Blackstone’s vice chairman says there’s going to be an earnings problem throughout 2016 — Byron Wien, vice chairman and investing guru at Blackstone Group, thinks that the market will look pretty bleak for the rest of the year.

This huge investor is preparing for a ‘bonfire of distress’ — Oaktree Capital Group, the world’s largest distressed-debt investor, is eagerly anticipating the chance to snap up bonds of companies nearing bankruptcy.

One of the hottest investment styles might be ‘financially unviable’ — Robo-advising is one of the hottest trends in fintech.

BYRON WIEN: Stock markets can predict US elections, and this one points to a Clinton victory — If you want to get a feel for how the US presidential election will play out, Blackstone’s vice chairman has a suggestion: Look at stocks.

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