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The Nasdaq Now: Tech Stocks Lead Decline in Unusually Voluminous Trading

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Trading volume was incredibly high, especially for this time of the year.

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MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL After House Speaker John Boehner failed to garner support among House Republicans on his "Plan B" proposal to extend Bush-era tax cuts to all but those with incomes $1 million and above, US equities tumbled on fresh fears that the US will fall off of the fiscal cliff.

"If there is any policy maker that is not taking the fiscal cliff seriously, he should check with the Congressional Budget Office, or check with any economist you can name, because it is very serious and it will lead to a recession if we go off the cliff; it's for real," Hugh Johnson, chairman of Hugh Johnson Advisors, told Marketwatch. "Wall Street has hope, but the message this morning is that is turning into fantasy."

The Nasdaq Composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) was down 1.43% to 3,006.73 points on incredibly robust trading volume of 1.17 billion as of 12:11 p.m. EST.

Bucking the secular bearish trend was Halozyme Therapeutics (NASDAQ:HALO), which soared 26.45% to $6.97 after the biotechnology company announced a collaboration and license agreement with Pfizer (NYSE:PFE).

Ameristar Casinos (NASDAQ:ASCA) also jumped 20.07% to $26.50 on news that it would be acquired by another casino-hotel operator, Pinnacle Entertainment (NYSE:PNK) (+19.85%) for $26.50 per share, a 20% premium to Ameristar's Thursday closing price.

Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) plunged 17.28% to $11.68 even though it reported better-than-expected earnings yesterday. For its fiscal third quarter, RIMM posted an adjusted per-share loss of $0.22, compared to the consensus estimate of a loss of $0.35. Nonetheless, investors were worried about possible changes to the Canadian company's high-margin services businesses and costs related to the upcoming BlackBerry 10 launch.

"The decent results are likely to be overshadowed by the company's admission BB10 will produce a shift in its Service business model that will pressure Service pricing and revenue long-term," said Cowen and Co. analyst Matthew Hoffman in a note.

After posting a sixth successive quarterly loss, Micron Technology (NASDAQ:MU) fell 7.82% to $6.26.

Tech stocks were hit hard on the day, with Facebook (NASDAQ:FN) (-3.02%), Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) (-1.47%), Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA) (-3.36%), and Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) (-2.46%) all down.

News Corp. (NASDAQ:NWSA) also declined 1.93% to $24.93 after the company said that its publishing arm, which will be spun off from the entertainment business next year, would have lost $2.08 billion in the last fiscal year as a standalone company.

Twitter: @sterlingwong
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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