With the White House and Congressional leaders now in the heat of fiscal cliff negotiations, investors chose to err on the cautious sides, with stocks trading just slightly up on the last day of the trading week.
"I doubt we'll see anything concrete for quite a while," said Stephen Guilfoyle, US economist at Meridian Equity Partners, of the budget discussion, according to The Street
.. "I am certain that both sides will come out and say something positive because that's their job. They're going to make their constituents think they're working for them, and they're trying to make the press and the markets believe that things are moving in the right direction, so you'll probably hear some positive headlines."
"The market wants to move, so the market is going to look at every little headline, every little snippet, every little gaffe, they're going to magnify those, and I think they will react in kind," Guilfoyle continued.
The Nasdaq Composite
(INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) was up 0.41% to 2,843.69 points on strong trading volume of 1.07 billion as of 12:11 p.m. EST.
One of the top Nasdaq gainers on the day was Swisher Hygiene
(NASDAQ:SWSH), which soared 29.57% to $1.49. The company said earlier that it sold its waste collection business, Choice Environmental Services, to a subsidiary of Progressive Waste Solutions
(NYSE:BIN) for $123.3 million.
Penn National Gaming
(NASDAQ:PENN) hit its highest level in more than four years, jumping 29.35% to $48.65. The casino and racetrack operator earlier announced that it would split its business into two distinct public companies by spinning off its real estate assets into a real estate investment trust. The spin-off of the REIT is expected to be completed in the second half of 2013.
(NASDAQ:FB) also advanced 5.55% to $23.40. It has been a remarkable week for the social network, whose shares have gained more than 22% since Monday, while the stock market on the whole has tanked. It appears that investors are turning to the company now that the biggest of its lockup expirations is over.
Shares of Dynavax Technologies
(NASDAQ:DVAX) collapsed 47.98% to $2.41 after a Federal Drug Administration panel questioned the safety of the company’s hepatitis B vaccine Heplisav
. The FDA panel, which said that the drug works but that there was insufficient data to pronounce it safe, will make its final decision on Heplisav by Feb 24.
Both Jefferies and JMP Securities, however, released notes in the morning saying Dynavax was a good buy at current prices.
(NASDAQ:DELL) retreated 7.63% to $8.83 after it forecast weaker-than-expected numbers for the current quarter. The Round Rock, Texas-based company said fiscal fourth-quarter revenue will be around $14 billion to $14.4 billion, when analysts were expecting $14.5 billion. A year ago, Dell generated $16 billion in revenue.
After an 8.32% slide yesterday, DryShips
(NASDAQ:DRYS) was down another 7.90% to $1.54. The company, whose third-quarter revenue missed forecasts, was downgraded to Neutral from Buy by Global Hunter, which cites worries about expiring charter rates.
(NASDAQ:AAPL) fell as low as $505.75 per share at the open before recovering to $521.33 (-0.82%). Shares of the tech giant are down more than 25% from its all-time high in mid-September.
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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