Small-cap stocks hovered above the bullish broader market Monday, propelled in part by Rubicon ( RBY), one of today's biggest percentage gainers overall. The Canadian gold miner rocketed 25.5% to $2.51 after discovering a new gold zone in its 60%-owned joint venture in Ontario.

Also surging was Minnesota-based Rural Cellular ( RCCC), which Bear Stearns upped to outperform after Friday's release of positive preliminary first-quarter results. Shares advanced 21% to close at $23. Colorado's Red Robin Gourmet Burgers ( RRGB) also rode high on a positive analyst call, gaining 6.6% to $41.97 on a Morgan Keegan upgrade to outperform. The analyst cited, among other things, the restaurant chain's plans to break into national TV advertising.

New deals lifted several small-cap stocks today, among them Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide ( QTWW). The Irvine, Calif., auto-component maker jumped nearly 23% to close at $1.51 after agreeing to a joint venture with "a major Chinese automaker" to develop hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles.

NutraCea ( NTRZ) said its rice-stabilization technology will be used in one of Archer Daniels Midland's ( ADM) facilities, boosting NutraCea shares by 9.7% to $3.95. ADM lately added 3 cents to $38.04. Health-care-info technology firm Streamline Health ( STRM) closed up 7.5% at $4.59 after announcing a new client -- "one of the largest" nonprofit health-care systems in the Northeast.

K-Swiss ( KSWS) meanwhile rose on a Barron's report predicting that the apparel maker's growth strategy and debtless balance sheet could push shares up to at least $32. The California-based company closed up $1.08, or 3.9%, at $28.72. Sign-making systems developer Gerber Scientific ( GRB), based in Connecticut, agreed to buy Data Technology for an undisclosed sum. Shares closed higher by 5% at $11.43.

Among the scarcer small-cap losers today was Colorado's Security With Advanced Technology ( SWAT), which was sued by PepperBall Technologies for patent infringement and breach of contract. SWAT sank to close down 12.5% at $3.61.

Gaming Partners International ( GPIC) tumbled 7.6% to close at $18.95 on word it will shave a penny a share off its third-quarter 2006 income after correcting a previously announced clerical error; another Las Vegas-based gambling-equipment maker, Shuffle Master ( SHFL), slipped 1.2% to $17.42 on a Goldman Sachs downgrade to sell.

Elsewhere, Avant Immunotherapeutics ( AVAN) slid 6.3% to close at $1.33 after announcing it will slice about 30% of its workforce as part of a larger restructuring plan. SulphCo ( SUF), which makes technology for oil and petroleum processing, announced after the bell Friday that it had received a going-concern warning from auditors. Shares closed down 1.6% at $4.87.

The Russell 2000 gained 1.5% to 831.44; the S&P SmallCap 600 was up 1.3% at 426.48.

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