Small-cap stocks moved tightly with the major indices Wednesday, delivering a slight afternoon recovery after a bumpy morning in the red. Among the biggest gainers was Hawaii's Hoku Scientific ( HOKU), which jumped 9.4% to $4.67 on word its Hoku Solar subsidiary is entering negotiations to sell a solar-power system to Hawaii's main electric utility, Hawaiian Electric Co., for use at one of HECO's facilities. Hoku was chosen for this in what it calls a "competitive bidding process." Wireless Facilities ( WFII) meanwhile bounced 7.4% at $1.60 on word LCC International ( LCCI) agreed to buy its U.S. Wireless Engineering business for $46 million total, including $17 million in cash on closing. LCC added 0.6% to $3.54. As for positive analyst research, Sterne Agee sharply lifted True Religion Apparel's ( TRLG) rating to buy from sell, saying the Vernon, Calif., jeans maker could rake in far higher revenue for a strong second half via licensing agreements and new store openings, among other things. Shares leapt 13.5% to $17.50. Wireless Facilities and True Religion helped push the Russell 2000 up 0.4% to 840.81 as the S&P SmallCap 600 gained 0.5% to 436.86. An S&P SmallCap component, Daktronics ( DAKT), weighed on the index after the South Dakota-based company predicted fiscal first-quarter earnings of 9 cents to 16 cents a share, which leans to the lower end of Thomson Financial's analysts' consensus. Per-share earnings for the quarter ended April 28 also nearly halved to 9 cents, though analysts were seeking 8 cents. Shares of the company, which makes electronic scoreboards and other digital display equipment, retreated 2% to $24.62.
Also sinking on disappointing guidance was Powell Industries ( POWL) a Houston-based maker of systems for electrical-energy management and control. Fiscal 2007 earnings will likely range between 75 cents and 80 cents a share, vs. the sole analyst's estimate for $1.47 a share, according to Thomson Financial. Last week the company filed its earnings for the quarter ended March 31 -- which, at 20 cents a share, fell 14 cents below the average estimate. Shares were off 8.1% at $28.33.