The Russell 2000 Index (RTY) rose the most since July 2002, gaining 4.6 percent to 673.81. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index, whose members have a median market value 22 times larger than the Russell 2000, climbed 3.7 percent for the steepest rally since October 2002. The measures have declined 12 percent and 10 percent, respectively, this year.
Financial shares rose after the Federal Reserve, struggling to contain a crisis of confidence in credit markets, said it will lend up to $200 billion of Treasuries in exchange for debt that includes mortgage-backed securities.
Clayton Holdings Inc. (CLAY US), a provider of consulting services to lenders, surged 18 percent to $4.32. CBRE Realty Finance Inc. (CBF) , a real estate investment trust, rose 21 percent to $4.15. Crawford & Co. (CRD/B) (CRD/B US), which provides claims-management services to insurers, added 19 percent to $4.65.
Health insurers fell after Wellpoint Inc. (WLP) , the second-largest in the U.S., cut its forecast on costlier medical claims and a bad flu season. Amerigroup Corp. (AGP) sank 11 percent to $30.63. Molina Healthcare Inc. (MOH) retreated 14 percent to $25. Centene Corp. (CNC) lost 11 percent to $15.42.
Datascope Corp. (DSCP US) had the biggest gain in almost 15 years, adding 14 percent to $38.28. The maker of medical devices agreed to sell its patient monitoring division to China's Mindray Medical International Inc. for $202 million in cash.
Duff & Phelps Corp. (DUF) surged 40 percent to $15.20, its biggest advance since its September initial public offering. The provider of valuations for mergers and acquisitions rose after forecasting 2008 sales and profit that topped analysts' estimates.
Flir Systems Inc. (FLIR) advanced the most since Oct. 25, adding 14 percent to $26.96. The maker of infrared night-vision cameras was raised to ``outperform'' from ``peerperform'' by analyst Antonio Antezano at Bear Stearns & Co.
Inter Parfums Inc. (IPAR) advanced 21 percent to $19.65, the biggest gain since December 2003. The maker of perfume and cosmetics forecast 2008 net income of $1.25 a share. That tops the average estimate of $1.14 from analysts in a Bloomberg survey.
Jones Soda Co. (JSDA) had the biggest plunge since November 1996, dropping 34 percent to $2.86. The manufacturer and distributor of sodas and juices reported a fourth-quarter loss that was four times larger than analysts estimated, according to Bloomberg data.
Lululemon Athletica Inc. (LULU) climbed the most since July, advancing 20 percent to $26.15. The maker and retailer of athletic wear was raised to ``outperform'' from ``neutral'' at Credit Suisse.
Phase Forward Inc. (PFWD US) gained the most since Oct. 24, advancing 16 percent to $17.78. The maker of products to manage health-care data was raised to ``buy'' from ``hold'' by analyst Andrey Glukhov at Brean Murray Carret & Co.
Safety Insurance Group Inc. (SAFT) fell the most since Feb. 27, slumping 7.3 percent to $33.19. The car insurance provider reported 19 percent less fourth-quarter profit than analysts estimated, according to Bloomberg data.
Stage Stores Inc. (SSI) rose the most since Nov. 20, jumping 17 percent to $14.40. The clothing retailer said first- quarter profit will be as much as 33 percent more than analysts estimated, according to Bloomberg data.
Superior Well Services Inc. (SWSI US) dropped the most on record, sliding 23 percent to $19.32. The oilfield-services provider reported 42 percent less fourth-quarter profit than analysts estimated, according to Bloomberg data. Superior cited unexpected delays in opening new service centers and longer-than- expected holiday shutdowns for some projects.
Sykes Enterprises Inc. (SYKE) gained the most since Nov. 6, adding 5.2 percent to $16.75. The operator of call centers said revenue will be $800 million to $820 million in 2008. Three analysts predicted $781.8 million on average, according to a Bloomberg survey.
Systemax Inc. (SYX) jumped 32 percent to $11.85, the biggest gain since June 2006. The seller of computers under the Systemax and Ultra brand names reported record earnings and said it will pay a special dividend of $1 a share.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Nagi at email@example.com.