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Tuesday's Small-Cap Winners & Losers

The small-cap sector spent much of Tuesday in negative territory before finishing to the upside thanks to the climbing broad market and rising stocks from a variety of sectors.

Among the biggest gainers was marketing-services firm Valassis Communications (VCI), which surged 22.2% after third-quarter earnings more than doubled from last year to $16.4 million, or 34 cents a share. Analysts were looking for just 22 cents a share, according to Thomson Financial. Revenue soared to $607.2 million from last year's $248.9 million, easily beating the $582 million consensus. Shares of the Livonia, Mich., company were up $2.36 to $13.

Chesapeake (CSK), a Virginia-based maker of paperboard packaging products, throttled past estimates with continuing-operations earnings of $6.6 million, or 34 cents a share (excluding special items). Analysts were looking for a loss of 3 cents a share; last year the company made 13 cents a share. Chesapeake stock leapt $1.55, or 27.1%, to $7.26.

That helped prop up the Russell 2000, which also tracks Valassis, and the S&P SmallCap 600. The sector trackers were tacking on about 0.9% apiece.

In more positive earnings, construction-materials maker Headwaters (HW) and business-software developer Pegasystems (PEGA) each swung to a profit in the most recent quarter, with Headwaters also topping estimates by a nickel a share. Its stock climbed 6.5% to $14. Pegasystems vaulted $2.12, or 19.7%, to $12.89.

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