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Barnes & Noble, Cliffs Natural, U.S. Steel: U.S. Equity Movers

Shares of the following companies had unusual moves in U.S. trading. Stock symbols are in parentheses. Prices are as of 4 p.m. in New York.

Materials producers fell after a report showed confidence among U.S. consumers slid to the lowest level since April, a sign that the recovery in the world’s largest economy may be slow.

AK Steel Holding Corp. (AKS US) fell 4.4 percent to $22.23. U.S. Steel Corp. (X US) lost 4.5 percent to $51.09. Allegheny Technologies Inc. (ATI US) declined 4.6 percent to $43.73. Nucor Corp. (NUE US) retreated 3.8 percent to $42. Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. (CLF US) slipped 3.3 percent to $52.72. Alcoa Inc. (AA US) dropped 2.7 percent to $13.18 for the biggest decline in the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

American Public Education Inc. (APEI US) rose 7.5 percent, the most since March 6, to $42.45. The operator of the American Military University reported fourth-quarter profit excluding some items of 44 cents a share, beating the average analyst estimate in a Bloomberg survey by 4.8 percent.

Barnes & Noble Inc. (BKS US) declined 6 percent to $20.23, the biggest gain since Jan. 17. The largest U.S. bookstore chain posted a fourth-quarter forecast that missed analysts’ estimates and said third-quarter profit declined as same-store sales fell.

Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (BRCD US) plunged 23 percent, the most since November 2002, to $5.36. The maker of networking gear that connects storage computers forecast 2010 earnings excluding some items of 58 cents a share at most. On average, the analysts surveyed by Bloomberg forecast profit of 60 cents. The stock was downgraded to “neutral” from “buy” at UBS AG.

CommScope Inc. (CTV US) dropped 13 percent, the most since Feb. 27, to $24.10. The maker of communications equipment forecast first-quarter revenue of $730 million at most, trailing the average analyst estimate of $756.4 million.

Corning Inc. (GLW US) decreased 3.1 percent to $17.21, the lowest price since Dec. 1. The world’s biggest maker of glass for flat-panel televisions was cut to “perform” from “outperform” at Oppenheimer & Co., which said panel TV shipments will fall in the second quarter.

Expeditors International of Washington Inc. (EXPD US) climbed the most in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, rising 6.8 percent to $36.91. The manager of cargo ships reported fourth-quarter profit excluding some items of 32 cents a share, beating the average analyst estimate by 14 percent.

First Solar Inc. (FSLR US) slid 6.5 percent to $105.78 for the third-biggest retreat in the S&P 500. The world’s largest maker of thin-film solar power was rated new “sell” at Wunderlich Securities Inc. with an 18-month price estimate of $90.

Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Corp. (GLDD US) plunged 24 percent $4.45 for the biggest drop in the Russell 2000 Index. The Oak Brook, Illinois-based marine services company reported fourth-quarter profit of 2 cents a share, below the average estimate of 9 cents a share, according to a Bloomberg survey of three analysts.

Healthsouth Corp. (HLS US) lost 6.9 percent, the most since March 2, to $17.59. The largest U.S. provider of inpatient rehabilitation services forecast earnings excluding some items of $1.70 a share at most for 2010. Analysts had on average estimated $1.77, according to a Bloomberg survey.

Home Depot Inc. (HD US) rose the most in the Dow Jones Average, advancing 1.4 percent to $30.75. The largest U.S. home-improvement retailer reported a fourth-quarter profit that topped analysts’ estimates and raised its dividend for the first time since 2006.

IPC The Hospitalist Co. (IPCM US) fell 8.9 percent to $33.45, the lowest price this year. The company that helps physicians working in hospitals manage their businesses said 2010 revenue will be $361 million at most, less than the average analyst estimate of $363.7 million.

MercadoLibre Inc. (MELI US) dropped 7 percent to $38.05, the biggest decline since Feb. 4. The Latin American online-auction site reported fourth-quarter revenue of $49 million, missing the average analyst estimate of $58.3 million.

Office Depot Inc. (ODP US) rose 3.5 percent to $6.88 for the third-biggest gain in the S&P 500. The office-supplies retailer reported a fourth-quarter loss excluding some items of 6 cents a share, beating the average analyst loss estimate of 21 cents a share.

Orbitz Worldwide Inc. (OWW US) declined 16 percent, the most since March 11, to $6.05. The travel Web site reported a net loss of 21 cents a share in the fourth quarter, wider than the 3-cent average estimate from analysts.

Palm Inc. (PALM US) fell 10 percent to $8.20, the lowest price since March 31. The maker of the Pre mobile phone was cut to “underperform” from “buy” at Bank of America Corp. by equity analyst Vivek Arya, who said Palm lacks phone carrier support and consumer demand.

Patriot Coal Corp. (PCX US) slid 12 percent to $15.53, the biggest decline since Feb. 4. The coal producer said it has temporarily suspended active mining operations at a mine near Fairview, West Virginia, after discovering “potentially adverse atmospheric conditions.”

Radian Group Inc. (RDN US) jumped 9.3 percent to $9.38, the highest price since Sept. 30. The second-largest U.S. mortgage insurer said its fourth-quarter net loss narrowed to $1.12 a share from $3.11 a share a year earlier. Five analysts surveyed by Bloomberg had an average estimate of a loss of $1.45 a share.

MGIC Investment Corp. (MTG US), the biggest mortgage insurer, rose 2.8 percent to $7.74. PMI Group Inc. (PMI US), the third largest, gained 11 percent to $3.02.

RadioShack Corp. (RSH US) had the second-biggest retreat in the S&P 500, losing 7.4 percent to $19.11. Barclays Plc cut the share-price estimate for the second-largest U.S. electronics chain to $24 from $25 and said the stock was under pressure because of “a healthy amount of exuberance” before the company’s earnings release.

Tenet Healthcare Corp. (THC US) fell the most in the S&P 500, sinking 9.7 percent to $5.04. The Dallas-based hospital owner reported a decline in admissions during the fourth quarter.

Zale Corp. (ZLC US) rose the most in Russell 2000 Index, surging 27 percent to $2.56. Apollo Management LP has proposed buying a stake in the jewelry retailer, the Dallas Morning News reported, citing former Zale Chief Executive Officer Donald Zale.

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