Updated from 2:01 p.m. EDT with new stock prices
Small-cap stocks opened higher along with the broader market on earnings wins from several big names. The Russell 2000 climbed 3% to 712.96, and the S&P SmallCap 600 added 2.9% to 376.35.
Badger Meter (BMI - Get Report), a Milwaukee company that manufactures and markets products using flow measurement and control technologies, rose 19.1% to $49.64 on first-quarter earnings. Badger posted earnings of $6 million, or 41 cents a share, vs. $2.6 million, or 18 cents a share, a year ago. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial were expecting 33 cents a share.
After falling for most of last week, shares of Agria (GRO) bounced back, gaining 19.3% to $4.39. The Beijing vendor of agricultural products including sheep, corn seeds and seedlings announced its independent auditors have begun auditing financial statements from 2007. Earlier this week, the company had announced it was named as a defendant in a class action lawsuit related to its initial public offering.Nanching City, China-based Agfeed (FEED) saw shares jump 12.2% to $17.40. Agfeed announced it was buying several Chinese hog farms, which cost less than three times their projected 2008 income, the company said. The positive day still left some stocks in negative territory. Among the losers, Talbots (TLB) shares plummeted 28% to $9.25 on news that the women's retailer was losing lines of credit from HSBC and Bank of America. DA Davidson downgraded the stock to underperform from neutral. Shares of East West Bancorp (EWBC - Get Report) dropped 10.7% to $14.16 on first-quarter earnings. The company announced an 88% decline in earnings per share to 8 cents, due in part to a $55 million loan-loss provision. The company also suspended its 2008 earnings forecast and appointed a new CFO. RBC Capital Markets downgraded the stock to sector perform from outperform. Finally, Cheniere Energy (LNG - Get Report), shares of which have been hammered for the past week, lost 9.2% to $12.89 after president Stan Horton departed to pursue other interests. A successor has not been named.