Updated from 2:49 p.m. EST with new stock prices
Small-cap stocks stayed ahead of the broader market, streaking out of early losses while the broader market climbed at a shallower pitch. The Russell 2000 was up 1% at 717.30, and the S&P SmallCap 600 rose 1% to 380.36.
Leading the upward move was China TechFaith (CNTF - Get Report), shares of which surged 18.7% to $6.21. The Beijing-based handset design and software solutions company swung to a fourth-quarter profit of $3.2 million, or 7 cents a share, from a loss of $6.7 million, or 15 cents a share, in 2006. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial were looking for 4 cents a share.
Chattanooga, Tenn.-based Astec Industries (ASTE - Get Report), a maker of equipment and components for road building, utilities and construction, also rose on fourth-quarter numbers. Astec reported income of $11 million, or 50 cents a share, vs. $6 million, or 29 cents a share, in 2006. The Street had forecast EPS of 41 cents. Shares got a 17.1% bump up to $37.26.Shares of Heidrick & Struggles (HSII - Get Report) had no problem gaining 17.3% to $34.02. The Chicago-based executive search and leadership consulting company announced that net income increased 36% year over year to $9.2 million, or 49 cents a share, on revenue of $153.6 million for the fourth quarter. Heidrick & Struggles missed analysts' EPS expectations by 6 cents but forecast full-year 2008 revenue of $650 million to $670 million, which beats the mean estimate of $606 million. On the losing side, Cott (COT - Get Report) shares faded 38% to $2.51 after UBS downgraded the Toronto soft drink company to neutral from buy. Costa Mesa, Calif.-based Ceradyne (CRDN), which makes ceramic products, powders and components, lost ground on an earnings miss. For the fourth quarter, the company posted a year-over-year income decline to $35.2 million, or $1.28 a share, from $37.7 million, or $1.38 a share, a year ago. The consensus estimate was for $1.30 a share. It also lowered full-year EPS guidance for 2008 to between $4.55 and $5.05, compared with the Street's forecast of $5.67. Shares got crushed, losing 24.2% to $35.75. Usec (USU) fared similarly, dropping 26.2% to $6.83. The Bethesda, Md., supplier of low enriched uranium to commercial power plants reported fourth-quarter income of $25.1 million, or 13 cents a share, which was in line with Wall Street's forecast but declined from $40.1 million, or 46 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter. For 2008, Usec predicts revenue between $1.7 billion and $1.78 billion, which is slightly below the Street's view of $1.79 billion.