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Wednesday's Late Winners & Losers

Hoku Scientific (HOKU) was among the big winners after the market's close Wednesday, soaring nearly 33% in after-hours trading on a new financing deal.

The Hawaii-based company said it had struck a nonbinding term sheet with Merrill Lynch (MER) to borrow up to roughly $185 million in order to build and start up its planned polysilicon production plant in Pocatello, Idaho. When at full capacity, the facility is expected to churn out about 2,500 metric tons of solar-grade polysilicon annually, with initial customer shipments planned for the beginning of 2009.

Hoku shares were up $2.93 to $11.80 in recent extended trading. Merrill lost 1.6% to $58.65.

Troubled subprime-mortgage lender NovaStar Financial (NFI) leapt 27% to $3.15 after disclosing that Wachovia (WB) had agreed to waive through Dec. 7 a financing-agreement covenant that requires NovaStar to maintain a certain adjusted tangible net worth.

Theravance (THRX) also had a postbell rise after late-phase top-line trial results showed that telavancin, an investigational antibiotic, had achieved its non-inferiority objective. The compound is specifically proposed to treat hospital-acquired pneumonia. The company said that the combined clinical cure rate from two studies was 82.7% in the clinically evaluable population, topping that for vancomycin by 1.8 percentage points. Shares of the California-based biopharma company gained $1.75, or 7.2%, to $26, in light extended trading.

Also among the late movers was chipmaker Xilinx (XLNX), which reiterated its fiscal third-quarter revenue growth guidance at a sequential 2% to 6%, meaning around $453.8 million to $471.6 million. That's about in-line with the average analyst estimate of $462.7 million, per Thomson Financial. The company also continues to expect a gross margin of 62% to 63% and operating expenses to stay about flat with last quarter's $180.4 million. Shares of the San Jose, Calif., company were off 7 cents at $21.94 after some choppy trading.

Among the most heavily traded late-session losers, meanwhile, was Central Garden & Pet (CENT), which reported it had swung to a loss last week. Shares were down fractionally to $5.69 postclose. Retail giant Wal-Mart (WMT) was shedding 1.5% to $48.19, and chipmaker Infineon Technologies (IFX) gave up 1% at $12.64.

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