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The Nasdaq Now: Solar Stocks Shining Brightly After SunPower Deal

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Allot Communications and Biogen Idec were down on the day.

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MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL US stocks struggled to hold on to gains made yesterday after Washington lawmakers agreed to a deal to avert the fiscal cliff. With one fiscal crisis over, investors were concerned about a likely debt ceiling battle between Democrats and Republicans later this year.

"Given the track record of the current Washington crew, we can be sure we will go right to the brink and flirt with default before we reach yet another piecemeal accord," said Julia Coronado, chief North American economist at BNP Paribas, according to TheStreet. "As in 2011, the battle over the debt ceiling will likely end with a downgrade of the US, this time from Fitch and Moody's sometime in Q2."

The Nasdaq Composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) was up 0.13% to 3,116.17 points on average trading volume of 760.07 million as of 12:09 p.m. EST.

SunPower (NASDAQ:SPWR) was the largest Nasdaq gainer on the day, soaring 34.58% to $8.25 after it announced a deal with Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.B) subsidiary MidAmerican Energy to start two solar projects in California worth $2 billion to $2.5 billion. Lazard also upgraded the solar panel maker to Buy from Neutral.

Shares of First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) also jumped 8.78% to $34.80 following a Sell to Strong Sell upgrade from S&P Capital IQ, which also increased its price target on the stock to $26 from $16.

Suntech Power (NYSE:STP) (+13.19%), Yingli Green Energy (NYSE:YGE) (+13.56%), and LDK Solar (NYSE:LDK) (+15.06%) were all up on the day.

Discount clothing retailer Ross Stores (NASDAQ:ROST) advanced 7.37% to $58.45 after it raised its fiscal fourth-quarter guidance to $1.05 to $1.06 per share, compared to its earlier forecast of $0.99 to $1.04 per share in net income.

The heaviest Nasdaq decliner was Allot Communications (NASDAQ:ALLT), which plunged 23.33% to $14.02. The stock was downgraded to Perform from Outperform by Oppenheimer, which said that it projected fourth-quarter earnings and revenue misses for the Israeli developer of wireless traffic-tracking products.

Data-storage company Mellanox Technologies (NASDAQ:MLNX) also slumped 12.81% to $53.35 after it revised its fourth-quarter revenue outlook downwards late Wednesday.

Biogen Idec (NASDAQ:BIIB) slid 1.29% to $148.07 after the company announced that it had stopped the development of its ALS treatment due to poor clinical trial results. The company was also downgraded to Neutral from Overweight by Piper Jaffray.

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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