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Somaxon, Borders: Midday Volume Plays

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Several stocks trading near $5 were moving on above-average volume during Wednesday's session.

Verenium (VRNM), Pacific Ethanol (PEIX - Get Report) and BioFuel Energy (BIOF) rose on increased volume on expectations that President Obama's administration will support of biofuels and release the renewable fuel standard requirements at a press event at 3 p.m. EST. FBR Capital Markets said its contacts suggest that the Environmental Protection Agency is expected to announce the rules for RFS2 and the renewable volume obligations and will likely the 2010 standard retroactive to the beginning of 2010 which would be the preferred option of the ethanol industry and a disappointment for oil refiners. Verenium rose 4.4% to $5.64, Pacific Ethanol gained 8.6% to $2.02, and BioFuel Energy was up 1.8% to $3.36.

Emcore (EMKR - Get Report) rallied by 11 cents, or 10.8%, to $1.13 after the company agreed to sell a majority interest in its fiber optics business resulting in the completion of its restructuring. Tangshan Caofeidian Investment will purchase 60% interest in Emcore's Fiber Optics business for approximately $27.8 million in cash. TCIC will provide an additional funding of $27 million to EFO after the closing. Volume topped 1.9 million shares, compared to the 50-day average daily volume of 847,000, according to the Nasdaq.

Somaxon Pharmaceuticals (SOMX) jumped by 50 cents, or 21.7%, to $2.80 on investor optimism that its insomnia drug would gain early approval from the Food and Drug Administration. Earlier, Labopharm (DDSS) said the FDA gave it early approval of its formulation of the antidepressant trazodone, for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD) in adults. Volume topped 4.19 million shares, compared to the 50-day average daily volume of 3.37 million.

Borders Group (BGP) surged by 32 cents, or 34%, to $1.26 after billionaire investor Bill Ackman of Pershing Square Capital (view Ackman's Pershing Square portfolio) said that a Borders bankruptcy was "a low probability event" during an interview with CNBC. "I think the company has stabilized. The stock trades as if it's going bankrupt but we don't see it as a likely bankruptcy," Ackman said, according to a transcript on CNBC.com. Volume topped 14.53 million shares, compared to the three-month average daily volume of 1.52 million, according to Yahoo! Finance.

-- Written by Robert Holmes in Boston.

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