Small-cap stocks largely slung under the major indices Wednesday, and one of the worst-performing names was XTL Biopharmaceuticals ( XTLB). The Valley Cottage, N.Y., firm plunged 17.2% to $2.92 on news it had suspended development on its XTL-2125 compound, a proposed treatment for hepatitis C, after an early-phase study yielded statistically insignificant results in drug efficacy. Angeion ( ANGN), which makes noninvasive cardio-respiratory diagnostic systems, forecast reduced profitability for the fiscal third and fourth quarters vs. last year due to dwindling revenue from its largest clinical-research customer. Despite positive results for the most recent quarter, shares of the St. Paul, Minn., company lost 13.1%, or $1.42, to $9.42. Meanwhile Georgia-based Matria Healthcare ( MATR) said it will end its short-lived relationship with insurer Wellmark Blue Cross & Blue Shield at year-end. The collaboration, which began in only February, had been originally slated to last for 10 years. Shares slid 6.3% to $29.42. Matria helped take down with it both the Russell 2000 and the S&P SmallCap 600, which respectively gave up 0.9% and 1.1%. Apparel maker Oxford Industries ( OXM), also a member of both indices, sank 3.5% to $42.66 after cutting its outlook for the fiscal fourth quarter and full year. Adjusted earnings for the quarter, now predicted at 96 cents to $1.01 a share, would miss Thomson Financial's estimates by at least 2 cents. Prior guidance had called for $1 to $1.07 a share.
On the flip side, Inovio Biomedical ( INO) recouped some of Tuesday's losses on word of positive preclinical results for DNA vaccines using its electroporation technology. San Diego-based Inovio, along with Wyeth ( WYE) and other partners, found the technology improved immune responses against malaria, HIV and hepatitis C vs. traditional vaccine-delivery methods. Shares surged 17.3% to $2.58, a move that partially recouped losses from disappointing news out of a separate late-phase study yesterday. Wyeth recently edged down to $57.46. Also on the winning side today was Starent Networks ( STAR), which jumped 17.3% following its initial public offering. The Tewksbury, Mass., purveyor of wireless-communications products priced some 10.5 million shares at $12 apiece, along with a 30-day underwriters' option for another 1.6 million shares to cover any overallotments. Elsewhere, Ivanhoe Energy ( IVAN) leapt 11.4% to $2.05 in very active trading after the Canada-based company finished testing on its heavy-oil-upgrading technology, having successfully demonstrated a "recycle" configuration that produces a "high quality" product with further reduction of viscosity. Ivanhoe expects to find a big market for this configuration in western Canada's Athabasca oilsands. The company also says it's now positioned to build full-scale commercial HTL facilities. Finally, New Jersey-based Russ Berrie ( RUS), which makes baby and gift products, climbed 5.4% to $18.67 after rejecting an $18-per-share takeout bid by an unnamed entity. The company may still sell itself or a division, however, and says it has already received some interest after preliminarily trotting out its gift segment.