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The Nasdaq Now: Facebook Up Sharply on S&P 500 Rumors

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Clearwire and Google were also up on the day.

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MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL There was little movement in US stocks in mid-Thursday trading, as investors resumed fiscal-cliff watching after yesterday's announcement of continued stimulatory measures by the Federal Reserve.

"Unfortunately, we need to rely on our elected officials to chart a course toward greater clarity about the future of the US economy, and a healthier balance between the government and business sectors," said Julia Coronado, chief economist for North America at BNP Paribas, according to TheStreet.

The Nasdaq Composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) was down 0.28% to 3,005.46 points on trading volume of 818.96 million as of 12:09 p.m. EST.

Shares of Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR) popped 13.64% to $3.13 after Sprint (NYSE:S) announced an offer of $2.1 billion, or $2.90 per share, to buy the remaining 50% of the wireless service provider it doesn't already own. With Clearwire shares now already above the $2.90 level, investors clearly expect Sprint to improve its offer to secure the deal.

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Apple (NASDAQ:APPL) were in the news today after Google's mobile navigation application Google Maps returned to the Apple app store after a three-month absence. Shares of the search giant advanced 1.00% to $704.57 on the news, while Apple declined 1.06% to $533.26.

Oncolytics Biotech (NASDAQ:ONCY) soared 56.22% to $3.39 after reporting positive results for the Phase III study of its head and neck cancer drug, Reolysin.

Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) inched up 5.79% to $14.08. Earlier, the Canadian company said that the US Immigration and Customs enforcement agency (ICE) would be test driving the new BlackBerry 10 and BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 mobile enterprise management solution in early 2013. Just a few months back, ICE had said that it would be dumping the BlackBerry for the iPhone.

Social stocks Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN) (+5.68%) and Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA) (+3.62%) also rose on the day, while Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) shot up 3.56% to $28.56, its largest intraday gain since Nov. 29, on analyst speculation that it would soon be part of the Standard & Poor's 500 Index (INDEXSP:.INX). Having just joined the Nasdaq-100 (INDEXNASDAQ:NDX) yesterday, Topeka Capital Markets analyst Victor Anthony said that there was a more than 50% likelihood that the social network would be included in the S&P 500 in 2013, according to Bloomberg.

Facebook will also see its last big stock lockup expiration tomorrow, with 156 million shares up for possible sale.

Rigel Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:RIGL) plunged 34.10% to $5.56 after it reported that its experimental rheumatoid arthritis drug did not show superior results compared to Abbott's (NYSE:ABT) Humira in a six-month study. Rigel's partner for the drug, AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN), also fell as a result.

Huntington Bancshares (NASDAQ:HBAN) slid 1.12% to $6.18 after it was downgraded to Underperform by Keefe Bruyette. The stock goes ex-dividend tomorrow, with owners of shares as of market close today eligible for a dividend of $0.04 per share.

Twitter: @sterlingwong
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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