The slouching major indices helped grind down on the small-cap sector Friday, and among the losers was

Nanophase Technologies

(NANX)

.

Shares slid 14.2% after the nanomaterials maker lost $963,000, or a nickel a share, in the third quarter -- essentially as much as it did last year. Analysts were calling for the loss to narrow by 4 cents year over year, according to Thomson Financial. Sales edged up slightly to $2.6 million, but that missed the $4.4 million average estimate. Shares of the Romeoville, Ill., nanomaterials maker were down 94 cents to $5.70.

Also falling on disappointing earnings was

UTStarcom

(UTSI) - Get Report

, which sharply widened its fiscal second-quarter loss to $61.7 million, or 51 cents a share, from a loss of 19 cents a share last year. Analysts were calling for the Alameda, Calif., communications equipment maker to lose just 33 cents a share. Its stock sank 12.9% to $3.85.

And

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Levitt

( LEV) retreated after

Sun-Sentinel

, of south Florida, reported that the company's Fort Lauderdale subsidiary, Levitt and Sons, has stopped homebuilding operations pending a restructuring of its debt. Shares were down 5.7% to $2.31.

On the other hand,

Steve Madden

(SHOO) - Get Report

leapt 11.9% after the shoe purveyor said it has received inquiries regarding a possible company takeout and has formed a committee to evaluate "any potential transaction." Shares of the Long Island City, N.Y., retailer climbed $2.35 to $22.04.

LaserCard

( LCRD), a maker of advanced identification technology based in Mountain View, Calif., tightened its fiscal second-quarter loss to $498,000, or 4 cents a share, from last year's 23 cents a share. That sails past the Street's consensus estimate for a loss of 11 cents as share, and revenue of $10.7 million was also better than expected. Shares flew 13.5% higher to $10.17.

More broadly, however, the Russell 2000 plunged about 26 points, or 3.2%, to roughly 799. The S&P SmallCap 600 slid 3% to around 415.5.