Bank of America, First Solar, Illumina, WCA: U.S. Equity Movers

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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.

Financial shares rose the most in the S&P 500 among 10 industries as the number of applications for unemployment benefits unexpectedly dropped last week to the lowest since April 2008. Bank of America Corp. (BAC US) rose 4.6 percent, the most in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, to $5.47. JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM US) increased 3.5 percent to $33.45. Morgan Stanley (MS US) advanced 6.5 percent to $15.88. Citigroup Inc. (C US) jumped 5.9 percent to $27.65.

Akamai Technologies Inc. (AKAM US) rose 19 percent to $31.63, the biggest gain in the S&P 500. The operator of a server network that lets businesses speed data delivery agreed to buy Cotendo for about $268 million in cash to expand Internet-based and mobile services. Cotendo’s investors include Juniper Networks Inc. (JNPR UN). Juniper gained 6.7 percent to $20.75.

Alaska Communications Systems Group Inc. (ALSK US) fell 24 percent to $3.35, the biggest loss in the Russell 2000 index. Alaska’s largest telephone company cut its quarterly dividend to 5 cents a share from 21.5 cents a share, compared with the dividend forecast compiled by Bloomberg of 10 cents a share.

American Greetings Corp. (AM US) sank 21 percent, the biggest drop since December 2008, to $13.39. The second-largest U.S. maker of greeting cards posted third-quarter earnings of 50 cents a share excluding some items, missing Northcoast Research’s estimate of 81 cents a share.

Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (BBBY US) fell 6.3 percent, the most since June 2010, to $57.58. The home furnishings retailer reported third-quarter sales of $2.34 billion, below the average analyst estimate of $2.35 billion in a Bloomberg survey.

First Solar Inc. (FSLR US) rose 7.4 percent to $34.15, the third-biggest gain in the S&P 500. The largest maker of thin-film solar panels may attract takeover interest from General Electric Co. (GE US) or Siemens AG (SIE GY) after it was valued this week as low as $2.64 billion, the steepest discount to net assets since its 2006 initial public offering and cheaper than 94 percent of renewable energy equipment companies greater than $1 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Herman Miller Inc. (MLHR US) fell 15 percent, the most since January 1999, to $18.54. The maker of ergonomically designed furniture said it expects third-quarter sales of no more than $420 million, below the average estimate of $441.7 million, according to analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Illumina Inc. (ILMN US) jumped 7 percent, the most since Oct. 25, to $29.07. The maker of genetic sequencing tests rose on speculation the company may be a target for Roche Holding AG, said Les Funtleyder, a New York-based analyst for Miller Tabak & Co. Roche is open to a deal as big as $3 billion and the Swiss drugmaker is ready to “seize” the right opportunities for acquisitions, Chief Executive Officer Severin Schwan said.

Mead Johnson Nutrition Co. (MJN US) dropped 10 percent, the most since its initial public offering in 2009, to $68.76. The maker of the Enfamil baby formula plunged after Wal-Mart Stores Inc. pulled a batch of the product from stores after a baby who had taken the formula died from a bacterial infection.

Micron Technology Inc. (MU US) rose 16 percent to $6.41, the second-biggest gain in the S&P 500. The largest U.S. maker of computer-memory chips was raised to “outperform” from “neutral” at Wedbush Securities Inc. The 12-month price estimate is $8 a share.

Neogen Corp. (NEOG US) tumbled 3.5 percent to $30.99, the lowest price since September 2010. The developer of diagnostic products had second-quarter earnings of 22 cents a share, missing the average analyst estimate of 27 cents a share.

Tibco Software Inc. (TIBX US) rose 8 percent, the most since Aug. 23, to $23.76. The business software developer reported fourth-quarter earnings of 42 cents a share, exceeding the average analyst projection by 20 percent.

Vivus Inc. (VVUS US) fell 17 percent, the most since July 16, to $8.68. The maker of an experimental weight-loss pill said an ingredient in the medicine was shown to be associated with oral clefts in babies whose mothers took it in pregnancy.

VMware Inc. (VMW US) gained 5.6 percent, the most since Oct. 18, to $81.16. The biggest maker of programs that let computers run multiple operating systems was raised to “buy” from “hold” at Wunderlich Securities Inc. The 12-month price estimate is $95.00 a share.

WCA Waste Corp. (WCAA US) surged 30 percent to $6.39 for the biggest gain in the Russell 2000 Index. The Houston-based waste-management provider agreed to be acquired by Macquarie Infrastructure Partners Inc. for $6.50 a share, or about $526 million.

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