Small-cap stocks got caught in today's larger slide Thursday before a late-day bounce-back, and

Charter Communications

(CHTR) - Get Report

was souring the mood with one of the day's steepest price drops.

Shares plummeted 34.3% in very heavy trading after the broadband communication company widened its third-quarter loss from continuing operations by 7.8% year over year to $1.10 a share, or $407 million. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial were looking for a loss of just 89 cents a share. The St. Louis, Mo., company's stock was falling 61 cents to $1.17.

Kenexa

( KNXA), a business-software company based in Wayne, Pa., was downgraded by several analysts after slashing its full-year earnings outlook under Wall Street estimates. The firm now expects non-GAAP income of $1.14 to $1.15 a share, compared with the prior range of $1.18 to $1.25 a share, and sales targets were cut by at least $5.5 million to between $181.5 million and $182.5 million.

Third-quarter earnings were flush with the consensus and revenue came in a notch under. Shares surrendered $11.28, or 40.5%, to $16.56.

Zumiez

(ZUMZ) - Get Report

, a sports-apparel retailer, plunged 27% to $28.72 after chopping a nickel off its 2007 profit guidance to between 92 cents and 94 cents a share, citing a "reliance on seasonal merchandise" in the fourth quarter. The Everett, Wash., company also missed Wall Street views for same-store sales along with a

couple of other mall retailers, reporting an October rise of just 5.1% vs. the 6.8% expectations.

Also among the day's biggest losers was

Hardinge

(HDNG)

, which fell 26.5% to $22.01 after third-quarter earnings of 32 cents a share came in 8 cents short of two analysts' predictions. And

Industrial Enterprises of America

(IEAM)

took a 65% free fall after suspending CFO Jorge Yepes pending an "internal integrity review ... to investigate possible violations of the company's policies and procedures." Shares slumped $1.43 to 76 cents.

On the other hand,

Restoration Hardware

( RSTO) rocketed some 140% after Catterton Partners agreed to

buy it out for around $267 million in cash, or $6.70 a share. The deal is set to close in the first quarter. Shares of the Corte Madera, Calif., home-furnishing retailer were surging $3.76 to $6.44.

Spectrum Brands

( SPC), maker of Rayovac batteries and other products, soared about 25% to $5.02 after the Atlanta-based company careened past Wall Street estimates with adjusted fiscal fourth-quarter income of 23 cents a share against last year's 17 cents. Analysts were looking for a nickel a share. On a GAAP basis, the company sharply narrowed its loss vs. a year ago.

Spectrum also announced in a conference call that it had struck a three-year deal to become the exclusive battery supplier to all

Disney

(DIS) - Get Report

theme parks, as well as for rights to use all Disney and Pixar characters for Rayovac packaging and promotions. It has already employed those rights, said the company, in a holiday-season promotion with

Wal-Mart

(WMT) - Get Report

.

Elsewhere, Oklahoma's

Syntroleum

(SYNM)

announced it had "successfully completed a demonstration of its proprietary technology designed to convert coal into clean synthetic liquid fuels," after which shares leapt 18 cents, or 14.5%, to $1.42. The company also posted a sharply narrowed third-quarter loss.

And

True Religion Apparel

(TRLG)

climbed 12.8% on better-than-expected results for the third quarter. The Vernon, Calif., jeans maker said it made $9.8 million on an adjusted basis, or 42 cents a share, on revenue that rose 12.8% year over year to $48.7 million. Wall Street had sought 39 cents a share on sales of $48.1 million. Shares were gaining $2.02 to $17.82.

More broadly, the S&P SmallCap 600 and Russell 2000 were both recently up 0.6%.