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The Nasdaq Now: Smith & Wesson Slides as Cerberus Sells Stake in Another Gun Maker

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Apple and Amazon were up on the day.

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MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL The festive mood at the stock market continued for a second consecutive day, with US stocks gaining once again on the promise that an accord to avert the series of automatic tax hikes and spending cuts can be reached in time.

With the fiscal cliff's December 31 deadline looming every closer, the White House and congressional leaders appear to have stepped up the frequency and intensity of their negotiations. President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner appear to have softened their stances, with both having offered concessions to appease the other.

The Nasdaq Composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) was up 1.04% to 3,041.76 points on trading volume of 860.39 million as of 12:11 p.m. EST.

A leading Nasdaq gainer was Vanda Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:VNDA), which soared 19.72% to $3.85 after the company announced positive Phase III results for the trial of its sleep drug, tasimelteon. In the trial, patients who took the drug showed improvements over those who took a placebo.

Tech stocks notched broad gains in intraday trading. Shares of Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) advanced 1.45% to $526.35 although the company failed to get a permanent injunction against Samsung (PINK:SSNLF) smartphones in the US. On the flipside, the Korean electronics giant said it was dropping its bid to get certain Apple products banned in Europe, saying it was withdrawing its injunction request "in the interest of protecting consumer choice."

Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) also improved 2.80% to $260.97. Earlier, RBC Capital Markets analyst Sean Kim upped his price target on the stock to $300 from $250 after noting that the online-retailing giant could collect greater profits in 2013 because its spending on order-fulfillment centers could slow down next year.

Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) (+2.81%), Seagate Technology (NASDAQ:STX) (+4.62%), Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) (+1.93%), and Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL) (+0.93%) all gained on the day, as did the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index (INDEXNASDAQ:SOX) (+1.38%) and the Morgan Stanley High Tech 35 Index (INDEXNYSEGIS:MSH) (+1.52%).

Galena Biopharma (NASDAQ:GALE) slid 17.11% to $1.55 after it announced the pricing of an underwritten public offering of some 15.16 million units of common stock and warrants at the price of $1.60 per unit, or total gross proceeds of $24.25 million. Galena said it will use the money for clinical trials and for general corporate purposes.

Smith & Wesson (NASDAQ:SWHC) (-9.30% to $7.85) and Strum Ruger (NYSE:RGR) (-7.52%) continued their post-Newtown declines after private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management, under pressure from major investor California State Teachers' Retirement System, said it would sell its holdings in gun company, Freedom Group, the maker of the weapon that was used in the horrific mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

GT Advanced (NASDAQ:GTAT) also fell 12.57% to $3.03 after providing disappointing projections for 2013. The supplier of manufacturing equipment for solar and energy-efficient lighting products forecast earnings of $0.25 to $0.45 per share on sales of $500 million to $600 million, when the consensus forecast was earnings of $0.82 per share on revenue of $662 million.

Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) also dipped 2.66% to $13.56.

Twitter: @sterlingwong
No positions in stocks mentioned.
The information on this website solely reflects the analysis of or opinion about the performance of securities and financial markets by the writers whose articles appear on the site. The views expressed by the writers are not necessarily the views of Minyanville Media, Inc. or members of its management. Nothing contained on the website is intended to constitute a recommendation or advice addressed to an individual investor or category of investors to purchase, sell or hold any security, or to take any action with respect to the prospective movement of the securities markets or to solicit the purchase or sale of any security. Any investment decisions must be made by the reader either individually or in consultation with his or her investment professional. Minyanville writers and staff may trade or hold positions in securities that are discussed in articles appearing on the website. Writers of articles are required to disclose whether they have a position in any stock or fund discussed in an article, but are not permitted to disclose the size or direction of the position. Nothing on this website is intended to solicit business of any kind for a writer's business or fund. Minyanville management and staff as well as contributing writers will not respond to emails or other communications requesting investment advice.

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