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Friday’s Headline-Making Stocks: Monsanto (MON), Apple (AAPL), Herbalife (HLF), More

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It’s the last day of the trading week (TGIF!), and all three index futures are close to flat, while crude futures have slipped by roughly 1%. Among the stocks trending this morning are Monsanto Company (NYSE:MON), Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF), Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc (NYSE:AMC), and Carmike Cinemas, Inc. (NASDAQ:CKEC). Let’s take a closer look at why the five stocks are garnering attention today and see how the collection of top funds tracked by Insider Monkey have been trading them of late.

We believe that imitating hedge funds and other large institutional investors can be helpful in identifying stocks capable of outperforming the broader market. Through extensive research that covered portfolios of several hundred large investors between 1999 and 2012, we determined that following the small-cap stocks that large money managers are collectively bullish on, can generate monthly returns nearly 1.0 percentage points above the market (see the details here).

Ellica / Shutterstock.com

Ellica / Shutterstock.com

Bayer Raises Its Bid for Monsanto 

Monsanto Company (NYSE:MON) is in the spotlight today after Bayer upped its takeover offer to $125 per share from the previous $122 per share offer. Given that Monsanto had previously rejected Bayer’s $122 per share offer as being too low, many analysts don’t believe Bayer’s new offer will be sufficient either. If Monsanto rejects Bayer’s takeover bid and Bayer doesn’t further increase its bid, Monsanto has a contingency plan; the company has talked with BASF in regards to potentially combining their agrochemical segments to unlock substantial synergies. Larry Robbins‘ Glenview Capital owned more than 11.00 million shares of Monsanto Company (NYSE:MON) at the end of March.

Follow Monsanto Co W/ (NYSE:MON)
Trade (NYSE:MON) Now!

Ackman Still Short Herbalife 

Although it has been several years since Bill Ackman‘s Pershing Square initially unveiled its Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) short, Mr. Ackman’s fund is still short the MLM. Apparently Mr. Ackman is willing to pay a carrying cost of over $100 million a year to prove his thesis right. Mr. Ackman recently said:

“The only way this thing gets resolved in my opinion is if Herbalife makes material changes to their incentive structure to stop the incentives to recruit. My guess is that is what the government is pushing for.”

Whether the government will make Herbalife change its recruiting practices is unknown right now. Herbalife shares are up by 14% this morning after the company announced a settlement with the FTC for around $200 million. The company also announced in a press release that Board member Carl Icahn was now free to purchase up to 35% of the company’s shares.

“I have always believed in Herbalife’s strong fundamentals and am pleased the Board has decided to increase my ownership limit from 25% to 34.99% of the Company’s outstanding shares.,” Mr. Icahn stated in a press release. Mr. Icahn’s Icahn Capital LP was the top shareholder of Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) in our database at the end of the first quarter, owning 17.00 million shares.

Follow Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF)
Trade (NYSE:HLF) Now!

On the next page we’ll find out why Apple, AMC Entertainment, and Carmike Cinemas are trending this morning.

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