Stock Market Today: Fiscal Cliff Fears Can’t Stop This 160% Gainer

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The stock market today opened flat before turning negative as negotiations on the fiscal cliff have not progressed, outweighing Greece's new deal concerning its debt.

  • Greece Close to Massive Bailout- Late Monday the International Monetary Fund, Eurozone finance ministers, and Greece came to an agreement that drastically eases the terms regarding Greece's repayment of debt and sets the stage for a third bailout. The deal lowers interest rates for bailout loans, suspends interest payments for a decade, pushes the deadline back for final repayments until the 2040s, and initiates a bond buyback program. Greece is also now on the brink of receiving a $44.7 billion loan beginning Dec. 13. "The big challenge now is to implement the decisions," Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said. "Greece has huge potential." The agreed upon measures aim to bring Greece's debt-to-GDP ratio down to 124% by 2020 from the projected level of 190% in 2014. The deal was accomplished by installing unprecedented measures such as carefully monitoring how Greece spends the debt, keeping an account strictly for debt servicing, and insisting that Greece completes the bond buyback before receiving more aid. "Euro-zone countries have put their money where their mouth is," Carsten Brzeski, an economist at ING Group NV in Brussels told Bloomberg News. "However, it is clearly not a carte blanche for Greece but rather a very tight leash."
  • Fiscal Cliff Talks Resume- Congress returned from its Thanksgiving recess and the fiscal cliff will be at the forefront of discussions this week. After last week's short burst of optimism there has not been any further progress on a deficit reduction deal. But for now consumers seem unfazed by the whole debacle, as today the consumer confidence index reached levels not seen since February 2008. The onset of higher taxes coupled with deep spending cuts was thought to lower consumer confidence, but instead consumers spent a record amount of money through Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The consumer confidence gauge interestingly showed expectations for six months from now, when we could be off the fiscal cliff, unexpectedly rose. The percentage of respondents expecting more jobs to be available in six months rose to its highest level since February 2011, and the percentage expecting to buy a home in the next six months hit a new all-time high. "The consumer is in a better place than several years ago," Michael Gapen, a New York-based senior U.S. economist at Barclays PLC (NYSE ADR: BCS), told Bloomberg. "A lot of the numbers are improving, whether it is household balance sheets or the state of the housing market or employment."

While the market is trying to turn positive, here is one stock surging on a medical breakthrough, another soaring on a settlement with Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG), and a third that is up after announcing a special dividend.

  • ACADIA Pharmaceuticals Inc. ( Nasdaq: ACAD) was up as much as 160% today after its experimental antipsychotic drug showed significant improvement in patients with Parkinson's disease psychosis in a late-stage trial. The drug, pimavanserin, reduced symptoms of hallucinations and delusions of jealousy by more than one-thiird, compared to an 18.5% reduction for patients receiving a placebo.
  • Immersion Corp. (Nasdaq: IMMR), a provider of haptic technologies that allow people to use their sense of touch when operating a variety of digital devices, won a key legal battle with Google and Motorola Mobility LLC today. Immersion reached a settlement and license agreement concerning Motorola's use of haptic effects in its cell phones. Immersion will now receive compensation for prior shipments of Motorola devices with haptic technologies. IMMR stock is up over 25% as of noon.
  • Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE: LVS) announced after Monday's closing bell that it is issuing a special dividend of $2.75 to shareholders of record on Dec 10. LVS stock is up over 5% on the news and is one of the many stocks previously highlighted as a special dividends contender.

As of noon the Dow Jones was down 4 points, or 0.03%, and the S&P 500 was up 1.73 points, or 0.12%.

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