Shares of the following companies had unusual moves in U.S. trading. Stock symbols are in parentheses and prices are as of 4 p.m. in New York.
Gold mining companies advanced as the metal rose 1.2 percent on a slump in the U.S. dollar that boosted the appeal of precious metals.
Education stocks rose, led by Apollo Group Inc. (APOL US) At a meeting this week of the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity, the U.S. Education Department indicated it will delay action on how for-profit schools are accredited, said Trace Urdan, an analyst with Signal Hill Capital Group in San Francisco.
Some casino companies advanced as three U.S. House Republicans said the Senate may try to pass legislation that would legalize and tax some Internet gambling before Congress adjourns this year. Boyd Gaming Corp. (BYD US) rose 6.2 percent to $9.77. Scientific Games Corp. (SGMS US) gained 9 percent to $8.64. International Game Technology (IGT US) climbed 5 percent to $16.33 for the biggest advance in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.
Ascent Media Corp. (ASCMA US) rose 9.7 percent to $34, the highest price since at least September 2008. The provider of post-production services for film and television agreed to sell its global content distribution business to Encompass Digital Media Inc. for about $113 million in cash, plus the assumption of some debt.
Avago Technologies Ltd. (AVGO US) fell 6.6 percent, the most since Aug. 11, to $26.55. The maker of semiconductor components forecast a 3 percent to 6 percent decline in first- quarter revenue from the previous quarter.
Big Lots Inc. (BIG US) slid 5.1 percent to $29.50 for its biggest gain since Nov. 4. The seller of overstocked items cut its earnings forecast for 2010 to no more than $2.81 a share. The company previously projected at least $2.82 a share.
Blyth Inc. (BTH US) dropped 12 percent, the most since June 4, to $40.19. The maker of candles and other scent and decoration products lowered its forecast for fiscal 2011, saying it expects to earn $3 a share at most. The company had previously anticipated at least $3.05.
Cascade Corp. (CASC US) rose 14 percent to $44.83, the highest price since September 2008. The maker of equipment for forklifts reported third-quarter profit and sales that beat analysts’ estimates.
Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (CMG US) slipped 6 percent, the most since October 2009, to $235.95. The burrito chain spun off from McDonald’s Corp. in 2006 was cut to “equal-weight” from “overweight” at Morgan Stanley.
Cobalt International Energy Inc. (CIE US) had the second- biggest advance in the Russell 1000 Index, jumping 8.5 percent to $12.45. The offshore oil and gas exploration and production company was rated “overweight” in new coverage by Morgan Stanley.
Coldwater Creek Inc. (CWTR US) declined 5.2 percent to $3.26, the lowest price since April 2009. The women’s clothing retailer posted a third-quarter loss of 12 cents per share, narrower than the average analyst estimate of 17 cents, according to a Bloomberg survey.
DryShips Inc. (DRYS US) rose 12 percent, the most since July 2009, to $5.88. The Greek owner of deep-water drilling rigs and vessels that haul iron ore and coal said its wholly-owned subsidiary Ocean Rig UDW Inc. intends to offer about $500 million worth of shares.
Emergency Medical Services Corp. (EMS US) rose 3.9 percent, the most since Aug. 3, to $52.92. The biggest U.S. operator of ambulance services said it agreed to buy Milford Anesthesia Associates, which has about 100 clinicians and provides outsourced anesthesia services to nine hospitals and 18 ambulatory surgical centers in Connecticut and Massachusetts. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
Gentex Corp. (GNTX US) jumped the most in the Russell 1000 Index, rallying 18 percent to $26.89. The supplier of vehicle mirrors, including ones with a rear-camera display feature, rallied after U.S. auto-safety regulators proposed requiring backup cameras on all new vehicles by 2014, under a rule intended to prevent drivers from backing over pedestrians.
Microvision Inc. (MVIS US) climbed 9 percent, the most since Aug. 31, to $1.57. The developer of ultra-miniature projection display products advanced after Ticonderoga analyst Brian White said Apple Inc.’s new iPhone 5 may embed in a pico projector.
National Semiconductor Corp. (NSM US) rose 4.7 percent, the most since June 15, to $14.77. The maker of analog integrated circuits was upgraded to “outperform” from “market perform” at FBR Capital Markets by equity analyst Craig Berger. Berger cited its attractive valuation multiple and resilient demand for analog chips.
Orexigen Therapeutics Inc. (OREX US) fell 12 percent, the most since May 2009, to $4.81. The biotechnology company’s new diet pill Contrave has safety risks and unclear benefits, according to U.S. regulators deciding whether to approve the nation’s first prescription drug for obesity in more than a decade.
PMC-Sierra Inc. (PMCS US) rallied 4.7 percent to $8.32, the highest price since Aug. 9. The chipmaker was raised to “buy” from “neutral” by Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
Smart Technologies Inc. (SMT US) fell 8.9 percent to $9.44 for the biggest decline since Nov. 10. The producer of interactive whiteboards used in classrooms dropped after Promethean World Plc (PRW LN) said fourth-quarter sales will decrease from a year earlier as governments and local authorities, particularly in the U.S., defer education spending.
Sunoco Inc. (SUN US) declined 3.9 percent, the most since Oct. 29, to $39.58. The Philadelphia-based refinery agreed to sell its Toledo, Ohio, refinery to Toledo Refining Co., a unit of PBF Energy Co., for $400 million.
Teekay Offshore Partners LP (TOO US) dropped 4.5 percent, the most since Aug. 17, to $27.80. The owner of oil tankers said it plans to sell 5.6 million units to fund vessel acquisitions.
VeriFone Systems Inc. (PAY US) advanced 8.5 percent to $39.87, the highest price since November 2007. The second- largest maker of electronic payment equipment forecast 2011 earnings of at least $1.60 per share and sales of at least $1.13 billion, both higher than the average analyst projection.
Western Coal Corp. (WTNCF US) rallied 12 percent to $11.52, the highest intraday price in data going back to June 2004. Walter Energy Inc. (WLT US), a southern Appalachia producer of steelmaking coal, agreed to buy the Canadian coal company for C$3.3 billion ($3.3 billion) to add reserves and boost production.
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