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Stocks making the biggest moves midday: Lennar, Centene, Boeing & more

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange as the Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell holds a news conference on December 19, 2018 in New York City.
Spencer Platt | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Check out the companies making headlines midday Wednesday:

Lennar — Shares of Lennar rose more than 4 percent despite the home builder reporting quarterly results that missed expectations. Lennar posted earnings of 74 cents per share for its fiscal first quarter, one cent below FactSet's estimates, while revenue also missed forecasts. However, Lennar experienced a 24 percent jump in new orders and a 30 percent increase in deliveries. The company's chairman said buyer interest is improving amid a "stabilizing housing market."

WellCare Health Plans & Centene — Shares of WellCare surged more than 8 percent while Centene's stock tanked more than 8 percent after Centene confirmed on Wednesday that it would buy WellCare in a cash-and-stock deal valued at $305.39 per share, to bulk up its government-backed health-care business. WellCare shareholders will get $120/share and 3.38 Centene shares for each share they now hold.

KB Home — Shares of KB Home rose more than 2 percent after the home builder reported better-than-expected earnings for the fiscal first quarter. KB Home reported quarterly profit of 31 cents per share, five cents above FactSet estimates. The home builder's revenue fell short of Street forecasts due to a decline in average selling prices, however.

Shoe Carnival — Shares of Shoe Carnival surged more than 20 percent after the retailer reported earnings that beat estimates. Shoe Carnival reported adjusted quarterly profit of 11 cents per share, 5 cents above FactSet estimates. Same-store sales rose 4.7 percent during the fourth quarter.

Boeing — Boeing's stock fell 1 percent ahead of its briefing on the fixes for the 737 Max jets involved in two fatal crashes since October. Boeing is slated to brief about 200 pilots at its Renton, Washington, facilities Wednesday as the company believes it has solved issues with the 737 Max automated flight control system by updating the plane's software, cockpit alerts and pilot training. People familiar with the work told CNBC that there are four notable changes.

Papa John's — Shares of Papa John's are up 1.5 percent after Stifel upgraded the stock to hold from sell, saying the worst is over for the pizza maker and that investor optimism is rising. Stifel added the new board of directors including Shaquille O'Neal can reverse the declining earnings trend.

Ralph Lauren — Shares of Ralph Lauren gained nearly 2 percent after Wells Fargo upgraded the apparel retailer to outperform from market perform. The bank called Ralph Lauren "a rare standout" in its space and the retailer is "playing offensive" with its accelerated top-line revenue this year.

Programming Note: For more on Centene, watch CEO Michael Neidorff's interview on Mad Money tonight at 6 p.m. ET.