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Thursday's Small-Cap Winners & Losers

Among the numerous small-cap losers Thursday was soft-drink maker Cott (COT - Get Report), which plunged 19% to $8.20 on slashed full-year guidance.

The Canada-based company now expects its 2007 operating income to be "substantially lower" than 2006's $2.3 million vs. its prior prediction for growth of between 12% and 15%. Sales should be about flat with last year's $1.78 billion; analysts polled by Thomson Financial are seeking $1.8 billion.

Staffing-services firm Spherion (SFN) dropped 14.3% on word it will buy Todays Staffing from CDI (CDI - Get Report) for $40 million in cash. The deal will probably close by the end of the third quarter. Spherion expects earnings accretion in 2008, but shares of the Florida concern still gave up $1.36 to $8.13. CDI shares slipped 3.1%.

These declines, along with a downgrade at J2 Global Communciations (JCOM - Get Report), helped to drag down both the Russell 2000 and the S&P SmallCap 600. The trackers were respectively off by 1.3% and 1%.

J2, a Los Angeles-based purveyor of messaging and communications services, shed 5.5% to $34.12 after Friedman Billings cut the stock to market perform from outperform, saying that the effect of expected in-line third-quarter results is already baked into the share price.

On the upside, however, shares of athenahealth (ATHN - Get Report) nearly doubled after its initial public offering, which priced 6.3 million shares at $18 apiece. Shares of the Watertown, Mass., outfit -- a purveyor of Web-based management software and services for the health-care sector -- were trading at $35.05.
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SFN $25.51 0.00%
MKTY $0.74 -22.11%
ATHN $128.64 0.12%
CDI $5.97 0.17%
COT $14.33 2.30%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,734.44 +73.73 0.42%
S&P 500 2,055.44 +4.81 0.23%
NASDAQ 4,726.6620 +9.5680 0.20%

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