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The Nasdaq Now: Gilead Sciences Hits 20-Year High; Groupon Finds No Redemption

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Myrexis and Celgene were also up on the day.

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MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL On a slow trading day, with government offices and the bond market closed in observance of Veterans' Day, US stocks slipped narrowly into the red in mid-Monday trading after establishing slight gains in the morning, as investors fretted over whether politicians would be able to come to a consensus on the fiscal cliff.

"Hopefully, we'll be ready for the barrage of US political soundbites and opinions on how to come to an agreement between Democrats and Republicans," Peter Boockvar, managing director at Miller Tabak, told Reuters.

"It may very well be the sole driver of stock performance into year-end with the economic consequences of such a deal being a focus only beginning in 2013."

The Nasdaq Composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) was down 0.17% to 2,899.91 points on anemic trading volume of 591.83 million as of 12:10 p.m. EST.

Shares of Myrexis (NASDAQ:MYRX) surged 17.52% to $2.75 on news that its board voted to dissolve the company. The company estimates that it will pay shareholders some $72.9 million to $77.9 million, or between $2.72 to $2.91 per share, based on the common stock outstanding as of November 2.

Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ:GILD) also jumped 11.68% to $72.57. Earlier, shares of the company hit $73.25, its highest price in 20 years. Over the weekend, Gilead presented successful clinical trial results for its experimental hepatitis C therapy regimen, which produced a 100% cure rate in the late-stage trial.

Celgene (NASDAQ:CELG) also rose 5.94% to $75.72 on promising drug results. The pharmaceutical company reported on Friday that its drug Abraxane improved the chances of survival for pancreatic cancer sufferers.

While Gilead and Celgene enjoyed drug trial success stock boosts, Clovis Oncology (NASDAQ:CLVS) fell 34.43% to $14.09, with its shares plunging after the company announced the suspension of the development of its experimental cancer drug. Clovis reported that study results showed that the drug did not perform better than standard chemotherapy in improving the survival rate of metastatic pancreatic cancer patients.

Star Scientific (NASDAQ:STSI) also slid 26.56% to $1.88 after the company said on Friday that it received only $5 million in cash from its legal settlement over a patent dispute with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco. The company cautioned that current cash on hand would be depleted before the end of the first quarter of 2013.

Meanwhile, after a 28% drop last week, Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN) found no redemption today, falling another 5.80% to $2.60. The daily deals site had its rating cut to Market Perform from Outperform by William Blair earlier.

Despite news of a broad licensing agreement with HTC to settle legal disputes over patent claims, shares of Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) were also down 1.18% to $540.60.

Twitter: @sterlingwong
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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