Updated from 11:46 a.m. Shares of American Italian Pasta ( PLB) were among the NYSE's winners Wednesday, rising 21.5% after the company posted first-quarter earnings and sales above expectations. The company earned $2.1 million, or 11 cents a share, on sales of $99.1 million. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were expecting earnings of 10 cents a share on sales of $92.6 million. A year ago the company earned $8.1 million, or 44 cents a share, on sales of $101.6 million. Retail sales during the quarter rose modestly, or by $711,000, while institutional sales tumbled by $3.2 million, or 12%. Looking ahead, the company reaffirmed its guidance for 2005, forecasting earnings of 80 cents to $1 a share on sales of $370 million to $400 million. Analysts are expecting earnings of 83 cents a share on sales of $381.9 million. Shares traded up $4.50 to $25.45. McCormick ( MKC) fell 6.1% after the spice maker posted fourth-quarter earnings and sales below expectations. The company earned $87.4 million, or 62 cents a share, on sales of $744.1 million. Analysts were expecting earnings of 66 cents a share on sales of $750.8 million. A year ago McCormick earned $84.4 million, or 59 cents a share, on sales of $698.6 million. Looking ahead, the company expects 2005 earnings of $1.70 to $1.74 a share, which includes a 1-cent charge related to previously announced streamlining actions. Sales are expected to rise by 4% to 7%, which includes $46 million from an acquisition. That would imply sales of $2.63 billion to $2.71 billion. Analysts had been expecting earnings of $1.74 a share on sales of $2.7 billion. Shares traded down $2.35 to $36. Shares of Magnum Hunter ( MHR) rose 12.2% after the oil and gas exploration company agreed to be acquired by Cimarex Energy ( XEC) for about $1.5 billion in stock. Cimarex will also assume almost $650 million in debt, bringing the entire deal's worth to about $2.1 billion. The deal values each Magnum share at $16.67 a share, based on Tuesday's closing prices, which represents a premium of 26%. The combination will triple proved reserves, double production, and extend the life of their reserves. The transaction is expected to close during the second quarter. Shares of Magnum traded up $1.61 to $14.85, while Cimarex traded down $4.12 to $36.06.