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Wednesday's Small-Cap Winners & Losers

Small-cap stocks along with the major indices generally turned negative in the afternoon to erase early gains, and among the biggest decliners was Exact Sciences (EXAS).

Shares plummeted 24.3% after the Food and Drug Administration told the Marlborough, Mass., company that its DNA technology for colorectal cancer screening, PreGen-Plus, is a medical device that needs premarket regulatory approval. Shares were down $1.46 to $4.56.

Spectrum Brands (SPC) sank 15.9% to $4.08 after the Atlanta-based maker of Rayovac batteries and other products postponed its sale of what it had called in August an "attractive strategic asset." The company cited "recent challenging conditions in the credit markets."

Massachusetts semiconductor equipment maker Axcelis Technologies (ACLS) dropped as well, after saying it will probably take a third-quarter loss of 8 cents a share, including a 5-cent goodwill-impairment charge related to ceasing future product development in rapid thermal processing and curing. Previous guidance called for a 2-cent profit.

Revenue is also now pegged "slightly below" the previous range of $110 million to $120 million. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial are looking for a 3 cent per-share profit, excluding special items, on $115.7 million in revenue. Shares were off 24 cents, or 4.9%, at $4.70.

The Russell 2000 and the S&P SmallCap 600, which track both Spectrum and Axcelis, recently fell 0.3% to 821.79 and 0.1% to 428.48, respectively.

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