Herbalife shares gain after analyst names stock a top pick for 2014

Shares of Herbalife Ltd. were gaining Thursday after an analyst named the Los Angeles nutritional product company's stock a top pick for 2014.

Tim Ramey, an analyst with D.A. Davidson & Co., has been bullish on the company for more than a year, even after activist investor Bill Ackman suggested the company operates a pyramid scheme that will be shut down by regulators.

In a research note, Ramey said he expects the company to post gains in the coming year, in part because of growth in China. He has a target price on the stock of $115.

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Herbalife was one of the most-watched stocks on Wall Street last year, as Ackman, predicting the firm's demise, squared off against billionaire Carl Icahn, who bought more than 15% of the company's shares.

The stock gained more than 130% in 2013, as the company posted record sales and regulators failed to intervene. Icahn has said he will hold onto his shares as he is confident in the company's business model, which relies on independent salespeople, or distributors, who make money from their own sales and from sales of those they recruit into the business.

Shares of Herbalife were up $1.55, or 2%, to $80.25 late in Thursday's regular trading session.


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