Story Stocks: Apollo Group (NASDAQ:APOL), Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Smith & Wesson Holding (NASDAQ:SWHC)

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Apollo Group (NASDAQ:APOL) shares shot up 8% to $47.07 in opening trades Friday, making it the top gainer on the S&P 500 Index. The gains came after Apollo, parent of the University of Phoenix, posted a fiscal third-quarter profit that outran Wall Street’s target. Apollo late Thursday reported a profit of $1.45 a share, excluding special items. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had predicted $1.33 a share. -MarketWatch

Bankrupt Canadian telecom group Nortel Networks Corp. on Friday said it is selling all of its remaining patents and patent applications to a consortium including Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), EMC, Ericsson, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Research In Motion and Sony for $4.5 billion in cash. Ontario-based Nortel has been selling its operations piece by piece since it filed for bankruptcy protection in Canada and the U.S. in January 2009. Nortel has noted a significant interest in its portfolio, which consists of around 6,000 patents and patent applications within wireless, data networking, optical, voice, internet, service provider and semiconductors technologies. Nortel said it "touches nearly every aspect of telecommunications," including also Internet search and social networking.-Associated Press

Muni bonds were among the best-performing assets around in the second quarter. Munis had a total return of 4.36% for the quarter, making them the top-performing fixed-income group, beating 7-10-year Treasurys (3.88%) and international corporate debt (3.34%), according to S&P indexes. And of course munis easily trumped the stock market; the S&P 500 clocked a total return of -1.67% in the quarter. Muni returns are up 4.79% year-to-date, which lags the S&P 500′s 6% return so far (including dividends), but still, no evidence yet of the hundreds of billions of dollars in losses Ms. Whitney has warned about. -The Wall Street Journal

Shares of Smith & Wesson Holding (NASDAQ:SWHC) turned higher Friday after the firearms maker posted a drop in quarterly profit due to charges but said it garnered record sales and better than doubled its backlog. Smith & Wesson earned $1.1 million, or 2 cents a share in its fiscal fourth quarter, down from $2.7 million, or 4 cents a share, for the same period a year ago. Sales jumped 8% to $112 million while the backlog soared 153% on a sequential basis on robust demand across "nearly all" of its firearm product lines, the company said. -MarketWatch

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