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The Nasdaq Now: Groupon Down Almost 10% With Nobody Happy that Andrew Mason Stays as CEO

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Zynga and Facebook were both down in midday trading.

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MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL There was little movement in the stock market on the last trading day of November, with investors choosing to stay on the sidelines as fiscal cliff uncertainties continue to weigh on the market.

"Our base case is there will be some sort of solution, but it may not occur by or on Dec. 31, so the market is not pricing completely going off the cliff, but more of a roll down the hill," Nick Raich, director of research at Key Private Bank in Cleveland, said of talks between President Obama and Congressional leaders to reach a budget deal, according to MarketWatch.

The Nasdaq Composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) was up 0.26% to 3,004.20 points on average trading volume of 745.07 million as of 12:06 p.m. EST. The index is also on its way to recording its best November showing in three years.

BioCryst Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:BCRX) jumped 16.87% to $1.87. Traders were responding favorably to news that its planned merger with Presidio Pharmaceuticals had been called off. The likely cause of the merger termination was BioCryst's withdrawal of a a preclinical application for a Hepatitis C candidate. With Presidio's focus being Hepatitis C, BioCryst's withdrawal lessened the compatibility of the two companies.

Peregrine Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:PPHM) also popped 18.10% to $1.37. After announcing in September that the drug trial results for their top drug bavituximab were unreliable, shares of Peregrine plunged some 80%. The stock has garnered upwards momentum in the past two weeks, however, with investors likely looking forward to the release of bavituximab data for the treatment of first-line, non-small cell lung cancer, which is expected to be out by early 2013.

Tellabs (NASDAQ:TLAB) surged 17.46% to $3.47 after the telecom-equipment supplier announced yesterday night that it would issue a special cash dividend of $1 per share to be paid December 21. The company also named acting head Daniel Kelly as the new CEO and president.

On the downside, VeriSign (NASDAQ:VRSN) plunged 13.60% to $33.99. The US Commerce Department has just approved an extension of its contract for VeriSign to mange dot-com domain names through 2018. However, VeriSign no longer has the right to automatic price increases of up to 7%. Instead, it has to demonstrate that any price increase is "limited to circumstances based on the imposition of new Consensus Policy or extraordinary expenses related to security or stability threats" and get the Commerce Department to approve it.

Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA) also slid 7.64% to $2.42 after stating late Thursday that its relationship with Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) (-1.41%) has evolved. The latter now has the right to make its own games if it chooses to. In exchange, Zynga has more freedom to operate an independent gaming website.

Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter was more sanguine about the announcement than investors, saying in a note, "Although Zynga investors have reacted negatively to Thursday's announcements so far, we view them as a long-term positive for both companies. Zynga now has an advantage to offer more payment options, which could result in additional subscribers who are not Facebook users."

In further social media stock woes, the news that Andrew Mason will stay on as CEO of Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN) looks like it was well-received only by… Andrew Mason. Shares of the daily deals company were down 9.03% to $4.13 after Groupon's board of directors elected on Thursday not to fire Mason.

"If I ever thought I wasn't the right guy for the job, I'd be the first person to fire myself," Mason said at a New York conference on Wednesday.

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) also ticked down 0.80% to $584.64. The company announced today that the iPhone 5, iPad 4, and iPad Mini will hit stores in China in December.

Twitter: @sterlingwong
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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