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The Nasdaq Now: Gun Stocks Under Pressure, Post-Newtown

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Apple hovered between gains and losses throughout the day.

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MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL US stocks inched up in mid-Monday trading after indications that progress had been made in fiscal cliff talks between Democrats and Republicans in Washington.

Last Friday, House Speaker John Boehner said he would be willing to increase taxes on Americans earning more than $1 million a year. Higher tax rates for top income earners has been a key demand of President Obama, so Boehner's concession shows that the two sides are one step closer to a consensus.

The Nasdaq Composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) was up 0.96% to 2,999.78 points on robust trading volume of 899.55 million as of 12:13 p.m. EST.

Caribou Coffee (NASDAQ:CBOU) was among the leading gainers, soaring 30.03% to $16.02 after German holding company Joh. A. Benckiser said it would acquire Caribou for some $340 million, or $16 a share.

Compuware (NASDAQ:CPWR) also surged 14.95% to $10.96 after news that activist investor Elliott Management has tabled an offer to buy the Detroit-based software company for $2.3 billion, or $11 a share. Elliott Management already owns 8% of Compuware.

Vivus (NASDAQ:VVUS) also advanced 10.37% to $12.67 after data that showed that there was a sharp increase in weekly prescriptions for the company's obesity drug, Qsymia. Ariad Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ARIA) (+6.18%), Acura Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ACUR) (+9.87%), and Oncolytics Biotech (NASDAQ:ONCY) (+11.94%) were also up on the day.

Shares of Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) hovered between mild gains and losses throughout the day. The stock was up 0.62% to $512.95 as of 12:15 p.m. EST. Earlier, the stock was cut to Neutral from Buy by Citi, who also lowered its price target to $575 from $675 on projections for slowing iPhone sales in the next six to 18 months. Meanwhile, Apple announced that it sold two million iPhone 5s over its debut weekend in China. This was the first time Apple has released iPhone sales numbers for China.

Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR) plunged 12.46% to $2.95 after the company agreed to sell close to 50% of its shares to Sprint (NYSE:S) for a sweetened bid of $2.2 billion. Last week, minority shareholders had complained that Sprint's opening bid was too low.

After the horrific school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, prompted talk in Washington by President Obama and Congressional leaders of stricter gun control policies, shares of Smith & Wesson (NASDAQ:SWHC) slumped 3.94% to $8.77. Sturm, Ruger & Company (NYSE:RGR) also dipped 1.49% to $44.89 under similar pressure.

Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN) (-4.33%) and Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA) (-3.54%) also slipped on the day.

Twitter: @sterlingwong
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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