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With economic news predominantly on the backburner and earnings season readying to kick off with Alcoa's earnings report, today's focus for the broad-based S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC ) was on the looming U.S. debt ceiling debate. Considering how long it took Congress to come to an agreement on a fiscal cliff deal when they knew two years in advance, investors are visibly concerned about the potential for negative implications if a debt ceiling deal isn't reached soon.
On the day, the S&P 500 dipped 4.58 points (-0.31%) to finish at 1,461.89.
Despite the negativity, there were quite a few rays of sunshine on this otherwise mostly cloudy day.
In the health-care arena, Celgene (NASDAQ: CELG ) soared 4.4% after a multitude of headlines hit the wires, including its CEO, Robert Hugin, outlining a very bullish growth outlook, as well as the company presenting at the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference. Hugin forecast EPS of $5.60 on revenue of more than $6 billion in 2013 and noted that organic pipeline growth should push EPS and revenue beyond $14 per share and $12 billion by 2017! Celgene also announced positive late-stage trial results for Apremilast, which met its endpoints in two clinical trials for the treatment of moderate to severe chronic plague psoriasis. All told, Celgene cleaned up today!
Landline, in-home broadband, and enterprise cloud provider, Windstream (NASDAQ: WIN ) , continued its hot streak by advancing for a fourth straight day and bringing its advance to 17% over the past four days. Leading the charge higher was Windstream's updated tax guidance which calls for just $40 million to $50 million in payments versus previous forecasts which called for $250 million. Analysts at Citi actually backed the notion that Windstream may be able to support its double-digit dividend in the near-term, setting a $9.50 target on the stock (note, that's lower than where it closed today), but cautioned the landline provider remains a "high-risk play" considering it'll need to spend heavily in the second-half of the year on fiber-to-tower projects.
Finally, streaming content provider Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX ) advanced 3.4% after announcing a television content deal with Warner Brothers that'll allow Netflix to stream eight current shows and potential future shows that Warner Bros. produces. Netflix shares hit their highest level in eight months earlier in the trading session, but I remain quite skeptical of the company's valuation. Netflix struck a deal to be Disney's (NYSE: DIS ) exclusive content distribution partner recently, but with Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN ) boasting a more impressive cash pile and being able to easily expand overseas, as well as Verizon (NYSE: VZ ) and Coinstar (NASDAQ: OUTR ) hooking up for a content deal, I'd hardly call Netflix a sure thing.
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