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The Nasdaq Now: Apple Nears 'Death Cross'

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Dell and Zynga were up on the day.

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MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL While the broader US stock market remains in a holding pattern thanks to continued fiscal cliff uncertainty, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) fell in the red thanks to a poor session from Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL).

The Nasdaq Composite was down 0.34% to 2,986.10 points on average trading volume of 871.23 million as of 12:22 p.m. EST.

Shares of Apple were on their way to a third straight day of declines, sliding 4.04% to $552.57 despite no apparent market-moving events. Investors were likely spooked by news that Apple's margin requirement has been raised to 60% from 30% by COR Clearing because of excessive concentration. The increase in margin requirements was due to rogue $1 billion Apple trading committed by David Miller from Rochdale Securities back in October, which caused Rochdale $5 million in losses.

Apple's 50-day moving average is close to falling below the 200-day moving average – aka the formation of 'death cross,' where some traders consider to be a selling point. The stock is on track to do so by the end of the week. If so, it would be the first death cross for Apple since late 2008.

Stephen Weiss of Short Hills Capital was not worried about the death cross, telling CNBC that traders were "taking profits, pure and simple," adding that "there's no rush to buy is the bottom line."

Another sharp decliner was Tibco Software (NASDAQ:TIBX), which plunged 21.36% to $19.44. Citing the impact of Superstorm Sandy and cuts in government spending, Tibco warned that its fourth-quarter results would not meet expectations. Following the news, Bank of America also downgraded the stock to Neutral from Buy, citing a leadership change in the company's North America sales organization as well.

Chelsea Therapeutics International (NASDAQ:CHTP) collapsed 34.14% to $1.18 after the company said results for the clinical trial of its drug Northera, meant to treat dizziness and falling in patients with Parkinson's disease, were mixed.

After yesterday's 14% rally on news of its deal to get exclusive rights to Disney (NYSE:DIS) films, Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) retreated 3.17% to $83.90, with some believing that Netflix might have overpaid for the rights.

Among rising stocks, Peregrine Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:PPHM) advanced 5.50% to $1.36 after it said that its Cotara program would be progressing into a phase 3 trial.

Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) also continued its upward momentum since landing a two-notch upgrade by Goldman Sachs on Monday, advancing 2.33% to $10.55.

Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA) also improved 3.07% to $2.32. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier that Zynga has signed an agreement with Synacor to offer its games and game currency for pay-TV and high speed internet packages. The deal could potentially reduce Zynga's reliance on Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) for users.

Twitter: @sterlingwong
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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