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Updated from 12:42 p.m. EDT



raced to the top of the leader board Wednesday in more than one way. It was one of the biggest percentage gainers and one of the most heavily traded stocks after the risk consulting company agreed to be acquired by insurance broker

Marsh & McLennan

(MMC) - Get Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc. Report

in an

all-cash deal for $1.9 billion, or $37 a share.

The price of the deal represents a 31.7% premium above Tuesday's closing price of $28.10. Shares of Kroll traded up $8.46, or 30.1%, to $36.56, on volume of 30.5 million shares.

"The addition of Kroll will broaden and deepen the capabilities of our fast-growing, risk consulting and advisory businesses by adding services clients need to reduce the impact of an adverse event. Kroll has multiple high-growth businesses under a strong brand," Marsh & McLennan CEO Jeffrey Greenberg said in a press release.

"It expands our capacity in several important sectors that complement our existing businesses, such as corporate restructuring, business intelligence and investigations, security services, employee screening and electronic evidence and litigation support," the release said.

The company expects the transaction to close during the third quarter and says the acquisition will be accretive to earnings in 2005.

Applied Materials

(AMAT) - Get Applied Materials, Inc. Report

traded actively after the company announced strong second-quarter earnings and sales.


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earned 22 cents a share on an 82% jump in revenue, which increased to $2.02 billion during the second quarter vs. $1.11 billion a year ago. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were looking for the company to earn 19 cents a share on revenue of $1.89 billion.

"Investment in 300

millimeter semiconductor equipment for leading-edge technology, combined with capacity purchases of our 200mm systems, drove Applied Materials' strong revenue and order growth this quarter," the company said in a press release.

Shares of Applied traded down 21 cents, or 1.1%, to $18.64, as more than 58 million shares changed hands. Despite the company's standout report, UBS downgraded its recommendation on the company to neutral from buy on Wednesday morning. (UBS simultaneously downgraded several other chip-equipment makers, including




Veeco Instruments

(VECO) - Get Veeco Instruments Inc. Report



(HPQ) - Get HP Inc. Report

rose on brisk volume Wednesday after the computer giant posted second-quarter earnings results.

Excluding charges, the company earned 34 cents a share on revenue of $20.1 billion, which was in line with analysts' expectations, and easily outpaced

estimates of $19.3 billion. H-P's results were helped by a wide variety of sources, according to CEO Carly Fiorina.

"H-P delivered a strong quarter with solid revenue gains and continued profitability across the portfolio," she said. "We surpassed $20 billion in quarterly revenue for the first time in our history, with record second quarter revenue in PCs, enterprise hardware, software, services and imaging and printing."

Looking ahead, the company raised its second-half 2004 revenue estimates to a range of $39.7 billion to $40.7 billion. The company also reiterated its second-half earnings projections of 74 cents a share. Shares of H-P traded up 72 cents, or 3.6%, to $20.55, on volume of nearly 33 million shares.

In addition to Hewlett-Packard,


high-volume leaders included







General Electric

(GE) - Get General Electric Company Report


In addition to Kroll and Applied Materials,


companies on the high-volume list included


(INTC) - Get Intel Corporation Report


Sun Microsystems

(SUNW) - Get Sunworks, Inc. Report



(CSCO) - Get Cisco Systems, Inc. Report



(MSFT) - Get Microsoft Corporation Report


Hollis Eden, SkyePharma Soar; Concorde Colleges Flunks

Among notable Nasdaq price movers,

Hollis Eden


rocketed after the U.S. Senate approved the BioShield bill. The bill calls for the government to spend $5.6 billion over the next ten years to develop drugs that will be used to combat the effects of bioterror attacks. Hollis Eden has a drug called Neumune that could be used on people who are exposed to radiation associated with nuclear attacks. Shares of the company traded up $2.53, or 32.2%, to $10.40.



rose after it and

Endo Pharmaceuticals

(ENDP) - Get Endo International Plc Report

announced that they received Food and Drug Administration approval for DepoDur, a pain-treatment drug used after major surgery. DepoDur is a single-dose, injectable formulation of morphine.

Shares of SkyePharma traded up $2.07, or 21.2%, to $11.82.

Shares of

Greg Manning Auctions


climbed after the company expanded a pre-existing agreement with Afinsa Bienes Tangibles from five years to 10 years. The agreement calls for Greg Manning to supply Afinsa with collectibles, which will then be sold by Afinsa to clients in Europe.

According to company CEO Greg Manning, "Although the contracts do not specify a minimum level of sales, based on our sales to Afinsa over the past eight months, which totaled more than $65 million, we estimate that the contracts will generate more than $1 billion in revenue to GMAI over the full 10-year term of the agreements."

Shares of Greg Manning traded up $2.18, or 21.5%, to $12.33.

Hurco Companies

(HURC) - Get Hurco Companies, Inc. Report

rose after it reported strong second-quarter financial results. The company earned 29 cents a share on revenue of $24.3 million vs. earnings of 2 cents a share on revenue of $17.5 million in the corresponding period a year ago. Its 39% jump in sales was attributed to strong demand of its computerized machine tools. The sales jump was also affected by strong foreign currency gains.

Shares of Hurco traded up $1.86, or 20%, to $11.18.

Shares of



crashed after the company disappointed Wall Street with its second-quarter earnings results and slashed 2004 earnings and sales expectations. In the most recent period, the company earned 4 cents a share on revenue of $13.7 million. Analysts were looking for Synovis to earn 12 cents a share on revenue of $15.3 million.

"At the halfway point of the year, we have fallen behind our own expectations and have clearly not met the expectations of the market," the company said in a press release. As a result, the company said, it is slashing its earnings forecast to 28 cents to 34 cents a share from a previous forecast of 56 cents to 60 cents a share.

Sales, meanwhile, are now expected to be in the range of $60 million to $64 million, down significantly from Synovis' previous forecast of $75 million to $79 million.

Shares of Synovis traded down $5.40, or 36.9%, to $9.25.



slid after the Dallas, Texas-based company delivered weak third-quarter earnings results. The company earned 6 cents a share on revenue of $18.5 million. Analysts, meanwhile, were expecting earnings of 14 cents a share on revenue of $19.9 million. The company said weak software license sales contributed to its feeble financial performance.

Shares of Docucorp traded down $2.36, or 24.7%, to $7.20.

Concorde Career Colleges


fell after the career training company slashed revenue and earnings estimates for 2004. It now expects sales to be in the range of $80 million to $82 million, and earnings to be in the range of 78 cents to 82 cents a share. Analysts were expecting the company to earn $1.10 a share on revenue of $87.4 million during 2004.

"Our enrollments continue to be adversely impacted by delays in implementing new programs. We have also experienced slower-than-anticipated enrollment growth during the second quarter in existing programs," the company said in a press release.

Shares of Concorde traded down $4.34, or 20.6%, to $16.77.

Alaris Acquired, Martha, Oh Dear

Over on the Big Board, shares of

Alaris Medical


jumped after it agreed to be

acquired for $2 billion. Under the terms of the deal,

Cardinal Health

(CAH) - Get Cardinal Health, Inc. Report

will acquire all of Alaris' outstanding shares for $22.35 a share, or $1.6 billion, and assume about $400 million in debt.

Cardinal said the acquisition will broaden its service offerings, better assist its global customers and help the company deliver a suite of medical safety solutions its customers desire. The transaction is expected to be modestly accretive in 2005 and meaningfully accretive by fiscal 2007, Cardinal said. The deal is expected to close during the quarter ending June 30, 2004. Shares of Alaris traded up $3.37, or 17.9%, to $22.25.

Stewart & Stevenson

(SVC) - Get Service Properties Trust Report

climbed after the company reported solid first-quarter financial results. The company earned 19 cents a share on revenue of $304.3 million, easily surpassing EPS expectations of 9 cents and the sales estimate of $279.1 million by the lone analyst covering the stock. Shares of Stewart & Stevenson were recently trading up $1.41, or 9.9%, to $15.66.

Goodyear Tire & Rubber

(GT) - Get Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company Report

rose after the company reported

a narrower fourth-quarter loss. After excluding sizeable charges, the tire giant reported a loss of 45 cents a share on revenue of $3.91 billion. Analysts were looking for the company to lose 20 cents a share. The company's fourth-quarter earnings results had been delayed for two months because of an accounting investigation at its European operations.

Looking ahead, the company says it expects to deliver strong first-quarter results relative to the year-ago period. Shares of Goodyear traded up 40 cents, or 4.9%, to $8.56.

Shares of

Hancock Fabrics


slid after the company announced lackluster first-quarter earnings results. The company earned 4 cents a share on revenue of $105.1 million. Analysts were looking for the company to earn 18 cents a share on revenue of $105.8 million.

"The first quarter's results were very disappointing. Although normal store operating costs were reasonably well controlled, nonrecurring expenses were magnified by the negative leverage of lower comparable-store sales," the company said in its earnings press release. Shares of Hancock traded down $1.73, or 13.5%, to $11.08.

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia


slumped for a second straight day after the company said that it would put its popular TV show on hiatus for the 2004-2005 season. Martha Stewart, who will be sentenced on June 17 for her felony conviction, is expected to receive a 10-month to 16-month prison sentence. As a result, Stewart could be serving time while the program is in production.

"I am deeply sorry that it has become necessary for the show to go on hiatus until my personal legal situation is resolved," Martha Stewart said in press release. "Words cannot convey my appreciation and admiration for the skills and dedication of our talented television employees, for the joy and pride I derive from our work together, and for the immeasurable contributions they have made and will continue to make."

Shares of the company traded down 63 cents, or 6.9%, to $8.55.