Scottish Re Group ( SCT) surged after the Bermuda-based life insurer said it has received bids from a number of potential buyers. In July, the insurer hired two Wall Street firms to explore a possible sale. The company took the move after announcing that CEO Scott E. Willkomm had resigned and the firm expected to post a loss of about $130 million for the second quarter. The news caused shares of Scottish Re to lose 75% of the value in a single day. In Monday trading, shares gained $1.09, or 11.71%, to $10.40. Asta Funding ( ASFI) gained after the Englewood Cliffs, N.J.-based asset management and liquidation company said its board approved a special cash dividend of 40 cents a share. The special dividend, which will be paid on Nov. 1 to shareholders of record on Sept. 29, is in addition to the firm's regular quarterly dividend of 4 cents a share. Also, the company said it made portfolio purchases of about $1 billion in face value, for a purchase price of about $29 million during the fourth quarter. Shares gained 42 cents, or 1.31%, to $32.40. CRM ( CRMH) slipped after the Poughkeepsie, N.Y.-based insurer said it was buying Embarcadero Insurance for about $45 million. Embarcadero, through its wholly owned subsidiary, Majestic Insurance Co., writes workers' compensation insurance for medium- to large-size businesses. Shares fell 38 cents, or 4.55%, to $8.01.
Investment Technology Group ( ITG) rose after the New York-based electronic trading firm said its August trading volume rose 10% from the prior month. In August, the firm processed 3.3 billion shares, up from 3 billion shares in July. The stock gained 8 cents to $43.71. Bank of America ( BAC) slipped after UBS downgraded the nation's second-largest bank to neutral from buy. An analyst cited the possibility for earnings slippage in 2007. The target price was lowered to $55 from $61. Shares slipped 65 cents, or 1.26%, to $51.02.