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Threat of Government Shutdown Sends Stocks Lower

Hot Stock Minute

Stocks suffered steep losses ahead of a possible government shutdown. Traders appeared pessimistic that Senate Democrats and House Republicans would be willing to agree on a piece of legislation ending a stalemate. This afternoon the Senate rejected the House bill that sought to keep the government funded through December, which included eliminating a medical device tax while leaving the majority of President Obama's health care law provisions intact. If Congress fails to reach an agreement by midnight, a partial government shutdown will take effect on Tuesday.

POLL: Where do you pin the blame for the impending government shutdown?

J.C. Penney (JCP) ended the day lower by over 2% and at one point the stock dropped to $8.59; its lowest price since November 1984. Traders appear to have been scared off by a plan announced last week to sell 84 million shares as a way of raising capital. The company said it would offer the shares at $9.65 which is now significantly above the current price. Prior to today the stock had already fallen 57% since the start of the year.

Apple (AAPL) fell over 1% despite an illustrious endorsement of the brand. Interbrand, a corporate identity and brand consulting company, named Apple the most valuable brand on the planet. It's the first time ever that Coca-Cola (KO) has been knocked out of the top spot. Google (GOOG) also vaulted past Coke to claim second place on the list. IBM (IBM) and Microsoft (MSFT) were ranked fourth and fifth.

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN) bucked the broader trend today and climbed over 2% after analysts at both RBC Capital Markets and Cowen released positive comments about the company's new test data on the drug Eylea which treats macular degeneration. Regeneron is also generating interest with the cholesterol drug alirocumab. The company has teamed up with Sanofi to develop the medicine.

Active Network (ACTV) skyrocketed more than 25% to nearly $14.50 on announcement of a takeover. The software maker is being acquired by private equity firm Vista Equity Partners. The offer is for $14.50 a share or about $904 million total. Active Network's products help people reserve spots for everything from campgrounds to marathons. It also allows the purchase of things like hunting licenses. The company first went public a little more than two years ago.

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