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Herbalife defends itself against Ackman’s claims

Herbalife on Thursday sought to knock down accusations that it is a fraud, but it appeared investors were still trying to make up their minds.

Shares of the nutritional supplements company closed down 1.8 percent, ­after climbing as much as 7.6 percent in the morning.

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In a 2½-hour presentation for investors and analysts, Herbalife executives responded to arguments made by hedge fund manager William A. Ackman in December, when he announced that his firm, Pershing Square Capital Management, was betting against Herbalife’s stock.

Ackman had called Herbalife a pyramid scheme, a claim that the executives vehemently­ denied.

The Securities and Exchange Commission is also scrutinizing Herbalife. On Thursday, Herbalife company said it had been in contact with regulators but declined to comment further.

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