Small-cap stocks bounced higher than the broad market Wednesday, and among the biggest winners was Microtek Medical ( MTMD). Shares of the surgical-products maker soared 27.5% on word Ecolab ( ECL) agreed to buy it for $6.30 a share in cash, or about $274 million. The deal, which represents a 34.3% premium to Tuesday's closing price, should complete during the fourth quarter. Microtek shares added $1.29 to $5.98 as Ecolab gained 0.8% at $42.97. Cross Country Healthcare ( CCRN), a Florida-based health-care staffer, leapt 22.4% to $18.27 after pegging third-quarter revenue at $181 million to $184 million -- higher than Thomson Financial's analyst consensus. Second-quarter earnings and revenue were both in line. Superior Well Services' ( SWSI) stock was also cheered on positive second-quarter financials. Per-share earnings improved by a third to 44 cents, or $10.2 million, in the second quarter, compared with analysts' 41-cent per-share projections. The Indiana, Pa., company, which sells well-site services to the oil and natural-gas industry, surged 20.5% to $21.80. On the other hand, James River Coal ( JRCC) sustained heavy losses after its second-quarter loss more than quintupled year over year to $1.17 a share -- a far cry from Wall Street's 50-cent per-share loss prediction. The Richmond, Va., coal miner also posted slipping revenue of $131.9 million, which likewise falls short of expectations. Shares tumbled 42.9% to $5.21.
Canadian electronics manufacturer SMTC ( SMTX) plummeted 32.6% after second-quarter income took a slide from last year to $110,000, or a penny a share, vs. 9 cents a share last year. The analyst who follows the company had called for 7 cents a share. Shares of the Canada-based company were changing hands at $2.52. Elsewhere in the red, Phoenix-based technical-education concern Universal Technical Institute ( UTI) reported a dwindling bottom line of 14 cents a share. That edges out the average estimate, but Piper Jaffray cut its price target by $2 to $23, after which shares dropped $4.39, or 17.7%, to $20.41. The Russell 2000 jumped 1.6% to 786.69 as the S&P SmallCap 600 rose 0.6% to 411.06.