The broad market took small-cap stocks on a wild ride Thursday, but among the solid winners was WSI Industries ( WSCI). The Monticello, Minn., metal-machining company soared 22.2% to $5.74 after bumping up its fiscal third-quarter profit by 2 cents a share from last year to 8 cents, or $229,000, while revenue surged 24.3% to $5.2 million. Lindsay ( LNN), an irrigation-systems maker, also issued positive earnings for the May quarter. The Omaha, Neb., company earned 62 cents a share, up 12.7% from last year, on 24.2% higher operating revenue at $93.1 million. Shares jumped 12.9%, or $5.08, to $44.33. California's Advanced Cell Technology ( ACTC) had a quick rise after announcing it successfully produced a human embryonic stem cell without destroying an embryo in the process. CEO William Caldwell said this development addresses the concerns of President Bush who, on Wednesday, again vetoed a bill to allow for federal funding of embryonic stem-cell research. ACT shares were up 9.9% to 73 cents in heavy trading. Intevac ( IVAC), of Santa Clara, Calif., and Atlanta's Manhattan Associates ( MANH) both supported the Russell 2000 and the S&P SmallCap 600 indices, respectively up 0.2% and 0.1% lately, after getting a communal lift on positive analyst research. Intevac, which makes disk-sputtering equipment for hard-disk drives, gained 2.5% to $20.05 after American Technology Research stamped on a buy rating. Analyst Bill Ong cited Intevac's development of a new plasma etch tool for the semiconductor industry, which he says could allow it to diversify away from the "ultra-competitive" hard-disk-drive market.
Cantor Fitzgerald, meanwhile, predicted moderately higher demand for Manhattan, a supply-chain software company, and upped the stock to hold from sell. Shares climbed 5.2% to $27.92. On the downswing, however, was Esco Technologies ( ESE), which makes filtration products, among other things. Shares tanked 21.9% after the company said its fiscal 2008 outlook might get deflated due to a potential "further delay" or a modification in its supply contract with Pacific Gas & Electric, as PG&E must now conduct a technology review for California regulators. Shares were recently changing hands at $36. Gold-and-silver miner Exeter Resource ( XRA) slid 21.3% on news one of its Argentinian projects, Don Sixto, was put on hold after a local law was passed "prohibiting the use of chemicals typically used in the extraction of gold and other metals." Shares of the Canada-based company were off 80 cents to $2.95.