VRX, MDLZ, and HLF Are Today's Biggest Pre-Market Movers

For May 5, 2015, here are your stock futures, top market news, earnings reports, pre-market movers, and stocks to watch in the stock market today...

Stock Futures Today

U.S. stock futures for Tuesday, May 5, forecasted an 8-point increase over Monday's close.

On Monday, The DJIA Index jumped 46 points as healthcare stocks surged higher. Shares of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK.A) pushed the financial sector into the green. New U.S. factory goods orders notched their highest jump in eight months as a stronger dollar continues to bolster profits for domestic companies. Meanwhile, merger talk reemerged in the cable industry as Charter Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: CHTR) executives have reached out to Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) management to discuss a possible deal.

Top News in the Stock Market Today

  • pre-market moversThe Stock Market Today: On Tuesday, investors are going to focus on another two speeches by members of Fed Open Market Committee, while companies continue to report earnings for the March-ending quarter. In a surprising twist following the departure of its founder Bill Gross, Pacific Investment Management Company (PIMCO) is now no longer the market's largest bond fund. Following two years of capital outflows, the company's massive fund Pimco Total Return Fund (PTTAX) has slipped to second behind Vanguard's index bond fund, Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Fund (VBMFX).
  • Global Focus: Asian stock markets slipped this morning, while the Australian dollar dipped. The Australian central bank slashed interest rates for the second time in four months as the country continues to struggle due to weakening demand from China.
  • Activist Investors: On Monday, the titans of the hedge fund industry gathered at the Sohn Investment Conference in New York to make presentations on the markets and project their bold calls for the markets through 2015 and beyond. Omega Advisors chairman and CEO Leon Cooperman said he expects markets to rise over the next eight months even if the Federal Reserve decides to raise interest rates in September or December. Cooperman offered a bullish outlook on a number of U.S. companies including Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG, GOOGL), Dow Chemical Co. (NYSE: DOW), Priceline Group Inc. (Nasdaq: PCLN), Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C), General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM), and drugmaker Actavis Plc. (NYSE: ACT).
  • Oil Prices Today: Domestic crude prices rose above $60 per barrel for the first time since December 11. WTI crude gained 2.1% to hit $60.12 per barrel. Meanwhile, Brent oil gained 1.6% this morning to hit $67.54 per barrel.

Pre-Market Movers in the Stock Market Today: VRX, MDLZ, MDLZ, BCO, YHOO, BABA

  • Pre-Market Movers 1, VRX: Shares of Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc. (NYSE: VRX) were down marginally in pre-market hours despite a bullish outlook from activist investor Bill Ackman. During his presentation at the Sohn Investment Conference on Monday, Ackman called Valeant Pharmaceuticals "massively undervalued" and compared the firm to an early-stage Berkshire Hathaway, calling it an ideal "Platform Company" poised for between $7 billion to $20 billion in acquisitions annually over the coming years.
  • Pre-Market Movers 2, MDLZ: Shares of Mondelez Intl (Nasdaq: MDLZ) were up slightly this morning on news the European Union has approved the global snacking giant's $7 billion merger with coffee giant DE Master Blenders. The deal received regulatory approval after both firms agreed to sell a number of assets to alleviate regulatory concerns over competition in the market.
  • Pre-Market Movers 3, BCO: Shares of Brink's Co. (NYSE: BCO) were up more than 3% this morning after activist hedge fund Starboard Value announced it has taken an $8.2 billion stake in the security services giant. Starboard, which has been pushing Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) for months to use its massive slush fund from the IPO of Alibaba Holding Group Ltd. (NYSE: BABA), argues that Brink's is undervalued and is expected to discuss various strategies with its board about how to boost shareholder value.

Stocks to Watch Today: SYY, HLF

  • Stocks to Watch No. 1,  SYY: Domestic food giant Sysco Corp. (NYSE: SYY) is barely hanging on to its $3.5 billion offer for its private rival US Foods. This week, the Federal Trade Commission asked a federal judge to block the deal over concerns that a combination of two major food distribution firms could potentially harm consumers. Sysco has attempted to garner favor for the deal by selling assets to Performance Food, but officials are still not satisfied.
  • Stocks to Watch No. 2, HLF: Shares of Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE: HLF) will be in focus today with the company poised to report earnings of $1 per share. Yesterday, activist investor Bill Ackman told CNBC that he is still confident in his massive short position against the health-supplements company.
  • Stocks to Watch, Pre-market Earnings: Today, keep an eye out for earnings reports from DIRECTV (Nasdaq: DTV), Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. (NYSE: ADM), Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), Intercontinental Exchange Inc. (NYSE: ICE), Kellogg Co. (NYSE: K), Zoetis Inc. (NYSE: ZTS), Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S), Noble Energy Inc. (NYSE: NBL), Magellan Midstream Partners L.P. (NYSE: MMP), and Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE: HLF).

Today's U.S. Economic Calendar (all times EST)

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  • International Trade at 8:30 a.m.
  • Gallup US ECI at 8:30 a.m.
  • Redbook at 8:55 a.m.
  • PMI Services Index at 9:45 a.m.
  • ISM Non-Manufacturing Index at 10 a.m.
  • 4-Week Bill Auction at 11:30 a.m.
  • Chicago Federal Reserve Bank President Charles Evans speaks at 12:25 p.m.
  • Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank President Narayan Kocherlakota speaks at 8 p.m.

What Investors Must Know This Week

About the Author

Garrett Baldwin is a globally recognized research economist, financial writer, consultant, and political risk analyst with decades of trading experience and degrees in economics, cybersecurity, and business from Johns Hopkins, Purdue, Indiana University, and Northwestern.

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