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Centex, Countrywide, Nextest, Nuance, Pulte: U.S. Equity Movers

The following is a list of companies whose shares are having unusual price changes on U.S. exchanges. Stock symbols are in parentheses after company names and prices are as of 9:40 a.m. in New York.

Homebuilders and lenders gained after the Federal Reserve and four other central banks said they will add cash to the banking system to bolster short-term financing.

Centex Corp. (CTX US) climbed 8.4 percent to $24.90. Pulte Homes Inc. (PHM US) added 6.9 percent to $11.47. D.R. Horton Inc. (DHI US) advanced 6 percent to $14. KB Home (KBH US) rose 4.5 percent to $22.66.

Countrywide Financial Corp. (CFC US), the biggest U.S. residential lender, advanced 5.9 percent to $12. CIT Group Inc. (CIT US), the largest U.S. independent commercial finance company, increased 6 percent to $27.59.

Alpharma Inc. (ALO US) lost the most since Sept. 6, falling 73 cents, or 3.6 percent, to $19.34. The drugmaker said profit excluding some items will be as much as 50 cents a share in 2008. The average estimate from analysts in a Bloomberg survey was 74 cents.

Andersons Inc. (ANDE US) added the most since Nov. 14, gaining $1.80, or 4.5 percent, to $41.84. The agricultural-service company will replace C-Cor Inc. in the Standard & Poor's SmallCap 600 Index.

Belden Inc. (BDC US) lost the most since its July 2004 initial public offering, falling $4.77, or 9.4 percent, to $45.86. North America's second-largest maker of electronic cable cut its annual forecast to $3.45 to $3.75 a share, excluding certain items. The average estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was $3.77.

Cardiome Pharma Corp. (CRME US) jumped the most since Nov. 9, rising 55 cents, or 5.9 percent, to $9.81. The drugmaker and Japan's Astellas Pharma Inc. won the backing of a U.S. panel to introduce the nation's first new intravenous treatment for rapid, irregular heartbeat in more than a decade.

Cooper Cos. (COO US) fell the most since November 2005, losing $4.24, or 10 percent, to $38.30. The maker of optical lenses, surgical instruments and diagnostic products said that, excluding some items, it earned 54 cents a share in the fourth quarter. Analysts, on average, had estimated profit of 68 cents, according to a Bloomberg survey.

Cummins Inc. (CMI US) advanced the most since Sept. 18, rising $7.31, or 6.2 percent, to $125.50. The maker of heavy-duty truck engines said its board declared a 2-for-1 split of common stock, the second split this year, and authorized the company to repurchase another $500 million in shares.

Force Protection Inc. (FRPT US) slumped 82 cents, or 12 percent, to $6, the lowest since August 2006. The largest supplier of blast-resistant vehicles to the U.S. military said its newest truck, the Cheetah, was rejected by the U.K. Ministry of Defence for a protected patrol vehicle contract.

Maguire Properties Inc. (MPG US) surged the most since its June 2003 initial public offering, gaining $3.03, or 12 percent, to $28.29. The Los Angeles-based real estate investment trust formed a special committee to explore a sale.

Microchip Technology Inc. (MCHP US) added the most since April 27, rising $1.56, or 5.2 percent, to $31.76. The maker of semiconductors said its board authorized the purchase of as many as 10 million shares of its common stock.

Nextest Systems Corp. (NEXT US) rallied the most since its March 2006 initial public offering, gaining $7.61, or 63 percent, to $19.60. Teradyne Inc. (TER US), the maker of chip-testing equipment, agreed to buy Nextest for $325 million, or about $20 a share, to add flash-memory test products. Teradyne rose 2.1 percent to $11.21.

Nuance Communications Inc. (NUAN US) tumbled the most since August 2006, losing $1.99, or 9.4 percent, to $19.12. The biggest maker of speech-recognition software by sales said the company and its stockholders plan to sell 15 million shares. More stock may dilute existing shareholders' stakes.

Nuvelo Inc. (NUVO US) advanced 21 cents, or 9.7 percent, to $2.37. The drugmaker said in a statement on PR Newswire it has received fast track status for alfimeprase, a drug designed to treat acute ischemic stroke.

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