Apollo, McMoRan, PulteGroup, Wabash: 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 as a report showed home prices in 20 U.S. cities dropped at a slower pace in January.

PulteGroup Inc. (PHM US) climbed 3.1 percent to $9.06. D.R. Horton Inc. (DHI US) advanced 2.2 percent to $15.77.

Lennar Corp. (LEN US) increased 4.7 percent to $27.63. The third-largest U.S. homebuilder by revenue reported first-quarter earnings excluding some items of 8 cents a share, beating the average analyst estimate of 5 cents.

Affymax Inc. (AFFY US) rose 4.2 percent to $14.31, the highest price since June 2010. The Palo Alto, California-based biopharmaceutical company won U.S. approval for Omontys, a competitor to Amgen Inc.’s (AMGN US) anemia treatments that have been the only options for patients with loss of kidney function for more than 20 years.

American International Group Inc. (AIG US) gained 2.1 percent to $29.67, the highest price since March 5. Deutsche Bank AG said the bailed-out insurer may repurchase $20 billion of stock in the next 12 months.

Apollo Group Inc. (APOL US) fell 8.5 percent to $39.54 for the biggest retreat in the S&P 500. The biggest U.S. for-profit college company’s Co-Chief Executive Officer Gregory Cappelli said new enrollments will be “volatile.” He gave the forecast during a conference call on Apollo’s second-quarter earnings.

Career Education Corp. (CECO US) lost 6.4 percent, the second-most in the Russell 1000 Index, to $8.42.

Ista Pharmaceuticals Inc. (ISTA US) surged 7.9 percent to $9.04, the highest price since May 31. The developer of eye treatments agreed to be acquired by Bausch & Lomb Inc. (BOL US) for $500 million. The company also extended the patent for its Prolensa eye solution to September 2025.

McMoRan Exploration Co. (MMR US) fell 7.5 percent, the most since Oct. 3, to $11.23. The New Orleans-based oil producer said it experienced an equipment malfunction during initial attempts to perforate and flow test the Wilcox “F” sand at the Davy Jones field. The latest technical difficulty highlights “the engineering risks of the ultra-deep play,” Biju Z. Perincheril, an analyst with Jefferies Group Inc., wrote in a note.

Neurocrine Biosciences Inc. (NBIX US) dropped 13 percent, the most since December 2008, to $7.78. The San Diego-based drugmaker said results from a phase II trial of NBI-98854 in tardive dyskinesia patients didn’t meet the primary endpoint when data was included from a site where efficacy assessment protocol wasn’t followed. With that site removed, the results shows a “significant” reduction in symptoms, the company said.

Opnext Inc. (OPXT US) surged 53 percent, the most in the Russell 2000 Index, to $1.73. The maker of optical components for communications networks will be purchased by Oclaro Inc. (OCLR US) in an all-stock deal. Holders of Fremont, California-based Opnext will get 0.42 shares of Oclaro stock, or about $1.96, for every Opnext share they own.

JDS Uniphase Corp. (JDSU US) gained 3.3 percent to $14.79 and Finisar Corp. (FNSR US) advanced 3.8 percent to $20.14 after Jefferies & Co. said they may gain market share while Opnext and Oclaro integrate their businesses.

Rent-A-Center Inc. (RCII US) gained 2.9 percent to $38.39, the highest price since it went public in 1995. The biggest U.S. rent-to-own retailer was raised to buy from hold at Stifel Nicolaus & Co., citing a “stabilizing core business” and the company’s RAC Acceptance kiosk concept.

Sharp Corp. (SHCAY US) jumped 20 percent, the most since 2002, to $6.85. The Japanese company plans to raise 132.5 billion yen ($1.6 billion) by selling new shares in itself to Foxconn Technology Group and a stake in a display unit to Foxconn’s founder.

Wabash National Corp. (WNC US) climbed 9.5 percent, the most since Feb. 7, to $10.71. The truck-trailer maker agreed to acquire Walker Group Holdings LLC, a manufacturer of liquid-transportation systems and engineered products, for $360 million.

Wave Systems Corp. (WAVX US) gained 18 percent, the most since Oct. 4, to $2.06. The provider of products to help businesses with online commerce and security was awarded a contract to provide labor, equipment and management for self-encrypting drives for the U.S. army.

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