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Wednesday's Small-Cap Winners & Losers

Updated from 2:44 p.m. EST with new stock prices

Small-cap stocks started Wednesday lagging the sluggish major indices only to ease back into positive territory in afternoon trading. The Russell 2000 recently edged up 0.3% to 797.03.

Among the day's winners, MRV Communications (MRVC) saw shares rise 21.4% to $2.50 after Source Photonics, a subsidiary of the Chatsworth, Calif., communications equipment maker, registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering. Terms were not disclosed.

Meanwhile, Newark, N.Y.-based Ultralife Batteries (ULBI) jumped 16.5% to $19.52 after announcing it had landed a $40 million defense subcontract from an unidentified U.S. defense contractor to supply advanced communication systems. This order is a follow-on to another $62 million deal made announced last week. Ultralife said it expects to deliver the systems sometime in 2008.

Also rising was Akeena Solar (AKNS). The Los Gatos, Calif., maker of solar power systems announced that Comerica Bank has agreed to increase Akeena's credit line from $7.5 million to $25 million. Shares leapt 22.4% to $8.10.

On the losing side, broader sector declines sent shares of some small-caps sliding. Following a holiday spike in oil prices, investors sold off airline stocks, sending Phoenix, Ariz.-based Mesa Air (MESA) down 6.8% to $3.31.

Homebuilders were also hurt as Standard & Poor's reported an October decline in home prices. Irvine, Calif.'s Standard Pacific Corp. (SPF) lost 3% to $3.83. M/I Homes (MHO), based in Columbus, Ohio, lost 5.2% to $10.29, and Meritage Homes (MTH) took a 4.1% tumble to $15.81.

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