Updated from 11:19 a.m. EDT

Shares of

NovaStar Financial

( NFI) were among the

NYSE's

winners Thursday, rising 1.8% after the subprime mortgage lender announced plans to seek strategic alternatives, including a possible sale of the company.

The company, which has seen its shares plunge by almost 80% since the beginning of the year, said it is exploring a range of alternatives, including other change-of-control transactions. It has retained Deutsche Bank Securities as financial advisor.

In addition, the company also announced it has received a commitment for up to $100 million in financing from Wachovia Capital Markets. The company expects the funding within the next 10 days. Shares closed up 9 cents to $5.12.

MGIC Investment

(MTG) - Get Report

traded actively after the mortgage insurance company posted disappointing first-quarter results. The company earned $92.4 million, or $1.12 a share, on revenue of $369.6 million. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call expected earnings of $1.71 a share on revenue of $383 million. During the year-earlier quarter, the company earned $163.5 million, or $1.87 a share, on revenue of $369 million. Shares closed down 14 cents at $56.99.

Shares of

Rite Aid

(RAD) - Get Report

slipped 2% earlier in the day but closed up 1.8% after the drugstore operator posted fourth-quarter earnings that were a penny shy of expectations. For the quarter ended March 3, the company earned $7.1 million, or 1 cent a share, on revenue of $4.56 billion. Analysts expected earnings of 2 cents a share on revenue of $4.63 billion. During the year-earlier quarter, the company earned $1.25 billion, or $1.83 a share, on revenue of $4.77 billion. Year-ago results included a tax benefit of $1.23 billion, or $1.82 a share.

Looking ahead, Rite Aid sees a fiscal 2008 loss of 11 cents to 23 cents a share on revenue of $25.3 billion to $26 billion. Shares closed up 11 cents to $6.34.

SAIC

(SAI)

rose 5.3% after the defense contractor posted better-than-expected fourth-quarter results. For the period ended Jan. 31, the company earned $84 million, or 20 cents a share, on revenue of $2.15 billion. Analysts expected earnings of 17 cents a share on revenue of $2.07 billion. During the year-earlier quarter, the company earned $154 million, or 44 cents a share, on revenue of $1.96 billion.

Looking ahead, SAIC continues to see fiscal 2008 earnings of 83 cents to 88 cents a share on revenue of $8.7 billion to $9 billion. Analysts project earnings of 85 cents a share on revenue of $8.74 billion. Shares were up 90 cents to $18.

Shares of

Nautilus

(NLS) - Get Report

slumped 14.6% after the fitness equipment company slashed its first-quarter earnings and revenue guidance. The company now sees earnings of 8 cents to 9 cents a share on revenue of $160 million. Previously, the company forecast earnings of 18 cents to 21 cents a share on revenue of $185 million to $195 million.

Analysts project earnings of 20 cents a share on revenue of $192.2 million. "We believe the North American consumer has been spending more discretionary dollars on higher priced and aggressively promoted electronic items instead of fitness equipment," the company said. "Further, the slowdown in housing is affecting our retail business as fewer homes are being built or remodeled, which means fewer new home gyms being filled with equipment." Shares closed down $2.34 to $13.67.

NYSE volume leaders included

Ford

(F) - Get Report

, down 4 cents to $8.09;

Pfizer

(PFE) - Get Report

, up 42 cents to $26.46;

Advanced Micro Devices

(AMD) - Get Report

, up 47 cents to $13.66;

Kraft Foods

( KFT), up 43 cents to $32.45;

Sprint Nextel

(S) - Get Report

, up 62 cents to $19.80;

Citigroup

(C) - Get Report

, down 15 cents to $51.65;

General Electric

(GE) - Get Report

, up 23 cents to $35.18; and

Dow Chemical

(DOW) - Get Report

, up 91 cents to $46.

Nasdaq

volume leaders included

MedImmune

( MEDI), up $5.79 to $43.63;

Dendreon

(DNDN)

, up 22 cents to $18.01;

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

, up 3 cents to $20.50;

Research In Motion

( RIMM), down $11.92 to $134.10;

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

, up 43 cents to $28.54;

Cell Therapeutics

(CTIC) - Get Report

, down 35 cents to $1.48; and

Sun Microsystems

(SUNW) - Get Report

, unchanged at $5.90.