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) -- Small-cap oil companies were rallying Wednesday, with a renewed surge in crude oil prices driving buying interest.

Lucas Energy


was gaining on unusually high volumes Wednesday, rising 26% to $2.63. The independent oil and gas company announced the completion of the Hilcorp Energy-operated Eagle Ford horizontal well. The well is expected to be put on production in a few weeks and Lucas expects it to meet or exceed expectations of 500 barrels of oil per day. That will increase its net production, cash flow and net produced reserves significantly, the company said.

Royale Energy


climbed 11% to $7.41 after it announced that it had closed a sale of assets located in Kern County, California, but did not disclose details about the acreage position or the value of the assets. Royale said it has retained an overriding royalty on the acreage, which is prospective for the Monterey Shale.

Hercules Offshore


saw its stock jump 7.7% to $5.41. Shares of the offshore driller have climbed 18% in the week running up to Tuesday, after the regulators granted the first permit for offshore drilling activities in the Gulf of Mexico since the Macondo oil spill last April.

Samson Oil & Gas


was another prominent gainer, rising 3.2% to $3.89.

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MELA Sciences


saw its shares rise 16% to $2.99 after it said it filed an amendment to the premarket approval application of MelaFind, its skin-cancer detecting device, with U.S. regulators. The amendment clarifies the intended use of MelaFind to dermatologists as a response to public statements made by several dermatologists sitting on the MelaFind FDA Advisory Panel.

MelaFind received positive FDA Advisory Panel recommendations in November 2010 and is currently under review at the FDA.

Shares of mortgage insurance companies were rising on reports that newly proposed mortgage lending regulations might not hit mortgage insurers as adversely as previously thought. Shares of


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were gaining 4.6% to $7.01.

MGIC Investment

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also saw its stock gain 2% to $8.38.

--Written by Shanthi Bharatwaj in New York

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