Small-cap stocks were riding high Thursday on the power of the bullish broad market and reams of positive news out of a variety of sectors. International Absorbents ( IAX), which makes animal-care and industrial absorbent products, rocketed 55.6% to $6.30 on positive fiscal first-quarter results. The Canada-based company's earnings were eight times higher than last year at a dime a share, or $623,000. Air-shipping company Air T ( AIRT), meanwhile, posted a 94-cent per-share profit vs. 77 cents last year, vaulting shares by 23.5% to $10.14. Molecular-technology firm Luna Innovations ( LUNA), of Roanoke, Va., soared 26.1% after inking a multiyear deal to develop its shape-sensing and position-tracking system for integration into Intuitive Surgical's ( ISRG) products. Financial terms weren't disclosed. Luna shares leapt 98 cents to $4.73. Intuitive was recently up 0.7% to $141.04. Also on the rise Thursday were a couple of small Canada-based miners. Augusta Resource ( AZC) shares ballooned more than 20% after Japanese investment firm Sumitomo agreed to take an 8.7% stake in the company as Harbinger Capital upped its holdings slightly to 19.9%. The deal is worth around $35.1 million (C$37.5 million), pricing some 10.7 million shares at $3.28 (C$3.50) apiece -- a sharp premium to Wednesday's close. Shares lately traded at $2.90. Gold miner Crystallex International ( KRY) meanwhile, jumped 15.4% to $4.51 after announcing it has completed the "final and conclusive step" toward getting an environmental permit to allow for construction on its Las Cristinas Project in Venezuela.
Elsewhere, Arizona's Syntax-Brillian ( BRLC) took back most of Wednesday's losses after Robert W. Baird defused rumors that the company might stop selling its hi-def TVs to electronics retailer Circuit City ( CC) by 2008. An analyst with CE Unterberg Towbin had made the suggestion, which yesterday sent Syntax shares plunging. Today, shares jumped 15.1% to $5.25. Circuit City shares were lately flat at $16.72. And Rudolph Technologies ( RTEC) was 6.8% higher to $17.11 after a "leading" disk-drive maker ordered six of its automated macro-defect inspection products. The stock buoyed both the Russell 2000 and the S&P SmallCap 600, which were respectively adding 0.7% and 0.8%. But another Russell 2000 member, Jones Soda ( JSDA), was among few small-cap laggards Thursday after the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported that coffee giant Starbucks ( SBUX) will no longer distribute some of the natural-soda maker's products by the end of this month. Jones shares traded actively to lose 4.7%, or 74 cents, at $14.94. Starbucks was off 1.1% to $27.46. Finally, Xenonics ( XNN), which makes illumination products for military and other purposes, slid 6.8% on a downward restatement. The Carlsbad, Calif., company will widen its fiscal 2005 per-share loss by 2 cents to 35 cents, having reclassified certain litigation-settlement gains as a capital transaction rather than as income. Shares were trading at $2.62.