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Avid,, Merck, Microsoft, Xerox: U.S. Equity Movers

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.

Homebuilders gained after purchases of new homes in the U.S. surged in March by the most in almost five decades. Lennar Corp. (LEN US) climbed 4 percent to $20.53. Pulte Group Inc. (PHM US) advanced 5.7 percent to $13.19. D.R. Horton Inc. (DHI US) rose 3.5 percent to $14.17. Standard Pacific Corp. (SPF US) increased 6.8 percent to $6.58. Hovnanian Enterprises Inc. (HOV US) rose 8.7 percent to $7.14. Beazer Homes USA Inc. (BZH US) advanced 3.9 percent to $6.60.

Acura Pharmaceuticals Inc. (ACUR US) tumbled 32 percent to $4.02 for the biggest slump in Russell 2000 Index. The company and its partner King Pharmaceuticals Inc. (KG US) failed to win a U.S. panel’s backing to sell Acurox, an experimental painkiller that contains oxycodone and is designed to prevent abuse. Data submitted by the companies don’t show the drug’s abuse-deterrent properties are effective enough to support its approval, outside advisers to the Food and Drug Administration said.

King Pharmaceuticals fell 6 percent to $10.44. Inc. (AMZN US) slipped 4.3 percent, the most since Feb. 1, to $143.63. The online retailer predicted second-quarter earnings that missed analysts’ estimates, signaling its profitability may come under pressure as consumers’ tastes shift to digital books and movies.

American Express Co. (AXP US) had the second biggest gain in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, rallying 2.7 percent to $48.05. The biggest U.S. credit-card issuer by purchases said first-quarter profit doubled as consumers boosted spending.

Avid Technologies Inc. (AVID US) lost 9.6 percent, the most since Oct. 3, to $15.62. The maker of editing equipment was cut to “underweight” from “neutral” at JP Morgan Chase & Co.

Deckers Outdoor Corp. (DECK US) rallied 9.4 percent to $157.21, the highest price since December 2007. The maker of Ugg boots and Teva sandals had its share-price target raised at Lazard Capital Markets, Susquehanna Financial Group and Thomas Weisel Partners, after the company boosted its yearly revenue forecast late yesterday.

DeVry Inc. (DV US) fell the most in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, erasing 6.5 percent to $69.46. The owner of for-profit technical schools and colleges faces enrollment declines in areas of its business that it is expanding, which “could pressure” the stock, BMO Capital Markets wrote in a note to clients.

Dover Corp. (DOV US) jumped 7.9 percent, the most since April 2009, to $54.20. The parent of more than 30 companies that make products from hearing-aid components to gasoline nozzles boosted its full-year forecast after first-quarter profit beat analysts’ estimates.

Eastman Chemical Co. (EMN US) rose 6 percent, the most since Feb. 1, to $71.12. The biggest U.S. maker of bottled plastics reported first-quarter earnings that topped analyst estimates and forecast second-quarter and full-year profit that also exceeded average estimates.

Idexx Laboratories Inc. (IDXX US) climbed 11 percent to $66.86, the highest price since it went public in 1990. The maker of diagnostics tests for animals increased its full-year projection after first-quarter earnings topped analysts’ estimates.

International Game Technology (IGT US) had the fourth-biggest gain in the S&P 500, climbing 8.1 percent to $21.18. The world’s biggest maker of slot machines reported second-quarter profit rose 6.8 percent, matching analysts’ estimates, as casinos replaced older games.

Lattice Semiconductor Corp. (LSCC US) climbed 14 percent, the most since Dec. 4, to $5.19. The maker of programmable chips reported first-quarter earnings of 10 cents a share, compared with the average analyst estimate of 7 cents, according to a Bloomberg survey.

Merck & Co. (MRK US) gained the most in the Dow average, advancing 5 percent to $35.46. The U.S. health-care overhaul won’t affect the company’s forecast of annual earnings growth in the high single-digits through 2013, Merck said today.

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT US) fell the most in the Dow, sliding 1.4 percent to $30.96. The world’s largest software maker reported third-quarter revenue that missed analysts’ most optimistic predictions, a sign that corporate customers may be putting off computer purchases.

New York Community Bancorp Inc. (NYB US) fell 3.4 percent, the most since Dec. 8, to $16.54. The Westbury, New York-based company had its shares cut to “underperform” from “neutral” at Bank of America Corp.

Pegasystems Inc. (PEGA US) dropped 12 percent, the most since July 2003, to $34.69. The developer of customer relationship management software posted a loss excluding some items of 13 cents a share, trailing the average analyst estimate by 45 percent, according to Bloomberg data.

Schlumberger Ltd. (SLB US) gained 6.6 percent to $72.68, the highest price since October 2008. The world’s largest oilfield contractor said international profit margins hit bottom earlier than it forecast.

Smith International Inc. (SII US), which is being acquired by Schlumberger, climbed 7.1 percent to $49.15. Weatherford International Ltd. (WFT US) advanced 6 percent to $17.73.

Sears Holdings Corp. (SHLD US) gained 8.1 percent, the most since Jan. 7, to $122.01. The biggest U.S. department-store company agreed to buy William Ackman’s hedge fund’s stake in Sears Canada Inc., in a move that would allow it to take the company private.

Synaptics Inc. (SYNA US) jumped 9.3 percent, the most since May 18, to $33.35. The maker of touch pads for digital music players and electronic devices forecast fourth-quarter revenue that exceeded the average analyst estimate and said it plans to buy more as much as $100 million of stock.

Western Alliance Bancorporation (WAL US) rallied 19 percent, the most since April 2009, to $8.73. The parent of the Bank of Nevada said its net loss in the first quarter narrowed to 3 cents a share, from $2.33 a year earlier. Maxim Group upgraded the stock to “buy” from “hold.”

Western Digital Corp. (WDC US) rose the most in the S&P 500, advancing 9.9 percent to $44.71. The maker of computer hard-disk drives reported fiscal third-quarter profit excluding some items of $1.71 a share, 10 percent higher than the average analyst estimate in a Bloomberg survey. The shares were upgraded to “buy” from “hold” at Stifel Nicolaus & Co. and to “outperform” from “neutral” at Robert W. Baird & Co.

Wilmington Trust Corp. (WL US) fell 8.3 percent, the most since Jan. 29, to $18.48. Delaware’s largest bank posted a first-quarter loss that was wider than analysts estimated.

Xerox Corp. (XRX US) climbed 8.3 percent, the most since July 23, to $11.32. The largest maker of high-speed color printers forecast second-quarter profit that beat analysts’ estimates as spending on its printer services rebounds.

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