Aspen Technology, Jack in the Box, Mariner: U.S. Equity Movers

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Shares of the following companies are having unusual moves in U.S. trading. Stock symbols are in parenthesis, and prices are as of 1:45 p.m. in New York.

Retailers were active after reporting August same-store sales results.

Nordstrom Inc. (JWN US) advanced 8.1 percent to $32.76 for the biggest gain in the S&P 500. The U.S. department-store chain said August comparable sales rose 6.3 percent, beating analyst estimates of 5.5 percent growth. Limited Brands Inc. (LTD US) rose 6.1 percent to $25.75 after reporting August sales increased 10 percent from a year earlier, compared with a Retail Metrics estimate of 7 percent. J.C. Penney Co. (JCP US) rose 3.2 percent to $21.41. The third-biggest U.S. department-store chain said August same-store sales rose 2.3 percent, compared with a Retail Metrics estimate of 1.6 percent.

Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (ANF US) fell 3.9 percent to $35.16, the biggest decline in the S&P 500. While same store sales rose 6 percent in August, more than the Retail Metrics estimate of 5.8 percent, promotions probably contributed to the gain, and sales growth is decelerating, Howard Tubin, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets, said in a report.

Homebuilders and home-improvement retailers advanced after an industry report showed the number of contracts to purchase previously owned houses unexpectedly rose in July.

D.R. Horton Inc. (DHI US), the second-largest U.S. homebuilder by revenue, rose 2.5 percent to $10.98. Home Depot Inc. (HD US), the largest home improvement retailer, gained 2.6 percent to $29.41. Lowe’s Cos. (LOW US), the second largest, advanced 3.3 percent to $21.94.

3Par Inc. (PAR US) rose 2.5 percent to $32.88, the highest price since its initial public offering in November 2007. Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ US) raised its bid for the data-storage provider to $33 a share from $30. Dell Inc. (DELL US) rose 2 percent to $12.36 after declining to match the offer, ending an 18-day bidding war.

Aspen Technology Inc. (AZPN US) fell 4.6 percent, the most since Feb. 22, to $9.60. The maker of software for oil and chemical companies reported a fourth-quarter loss wider than the average analyst estimate, according to a Bloomberg survey.

Burger King Holdings Inc. (BKC US) rose 25 percent to $23.59, the most intraday since its IPO in May 2006. The fast-food chain will be bought by 3G Capital for $24 a share in cash.

Wendy’s/Arby’s Group Inc. (WEN US), the third-largest U.S. fast-food chain, rose 6.8 percent to $4.40.

Collective Brands Inc. (PSS US) slumped 9.1 percent, the most since March 2009, to $12.51. The owner of Payless ShoeSource stores reported second-quarter earnings that fell short of the average projection of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Revenue also missed estimates.

Forest Laboratories Inc. (FRX US) rose 5.6 percent, the most since May 18, to $29.19. The Food and Drug Administration said the company’s experimental antibiotic works as a treatment for pneumonia and skin infections. Outside advisers to the FDA will meet Sept. 7 to review the findings and make recommendations on the proposed uses.

H&R Block Inc. (HRB US) slipped 2.9 percent to $12.57, the lowest price since April 2001. The biggest U.S. tax preparer’s options trading rose for a second day ahead of the company’s earnings report after markets close today.

Harry Winston Diamond Corp. (HWD US) jumped 19 percent, the most since April 2009, to $12.20. The mining company posted adjusted earnings of 17 cents a share, topping the average analyst estimate of 5 cents in a Bloomberg survey.

Jack in the Box Inc. (JACK US) gained 5 percent, the most since March 17, to $22.15. The fast-food restaurant chain concentrated in the western U.S. was raised to “neutral” from “underperform” at D.A. Davidson & Co., which also increased to $23 the price it expects the shares may reach in the next 12 to 18 months.

Mariner Energy Inc. (ME US) fell 2.6 percent, the most since July 16, to $22.75. A platform owned by the oil and natural gas producer in the Gulf of Mexico was struck by an explosion.

Martek Biosciences Corp. (MATK US) declined 4.2 percent, the most since July 7 to $21.48. The maker of nutritional oils for foods and baby formula said it expects fourth-quarter sales of $113 million at most, missing the average analyst estimate of $113.8 million.

Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd. (MPEL US) rose 13 percent, the most since Jan. 5, to $4.41. The casino company rose after Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau said casino revenue rose 40 percent to 15.8 billion patacas ($2 billion) in August.

Methode Electronics Inc. (MEI US) fell 14 percent, the most since July 2009, to $8.13. The maker of remote controls and touch-screens reported first-quarter revenue and profit excluding some items that fell short of estimates by David Leiker of Robert W. Baird & Co.

Movado Group Inc. (MOV US) fell 5 percent to $10.24, the biggest decline since Aug. 23. The watchmaker reported second-quarter sales that trailed the average of two analyst estimates in a Bloomberg survey, and a wider-than-estimated loss from continuing operations of 4 cents a share.

Orexigen Therapeutic Inc. (OREX US) rose 18 percent, the most since July 13, to $5.43. The company licensed its most advanced experimental drug, the diet pill Contrave, to Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. of Japan.

Pier 1 Imports Inc. (PIR US) rose 17 percent, the most since Sept. 21, to $7.65. The home furnishings retailer forecast fiscal second-quarter profit of 10 cents to 12 cents a share, compared with an average analyst estimate of 8 cents.

Sycamore Networks Inc. (SCMR US) jumped the most in the Russell 2000 Index, surging 21 percent to $26.90. The maker of networking software reported fiscal fourth-quarter profit excluding some items of 5 cents a share. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg forecast a loss, on average.

UTI Worldwide Inc. (UTIW US) rose 4.9 percent, the most since May 10, to $15.04. The freight-forwarding company reported second-quarter sales and profit that exceeded the average analyst estimates in a Bloomberg survey.

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