Gateway ( GTW) ranked among the small-cap sector's big winners Monday, catapulting more than 50% in furious trading on M&A news. Acer, a personal computer vendor based in Taiwan, agreed to
snap up the Irvine, Calif., PC maker for $1.90 a share, or around $710 million. The all-cash deal, which represents a 57% premium to Gateway's latest closing price, should close by December. Gateway shares surged 61 cents to $1.82, but the Russell 2000 still persisted downward, sliding 0.9% at 791.45. The S&P SmallCap 600 was off 0.7%. Meanwhile another tech stock, Superconductor Technologies ( SCON), rocketed 78% to $5.94 after announcing it's in talks to forge a joint venture with Hunchun BaoLi Communication, a China-based maker of push-to-talk handsets, by the end of 2007. Superconductor, based in Santa Barbara, Calif., said the proposed joint venture "would focus primarily on the manufacturing and marketing of its SuperLink interference elimination solution for the Chinese market." ID Systems ( IDSY) jumped after saying Wal-Mart ( WMT) has ordered its Wireless Asset Net industrial vehicle-management system for 13 more Wal-Mart sites under an existing 2006 agreement, which originally involved eight facilities. Shares of the Hackensack, N.J., company were up $1.73, or 17%, to $11.89. Wal-Mart stock recently ticked up 8 cents at $43.82. On the flip side, biopharma Neurochem ( NRMX) lost 43% after its Alzheimer's disease treatment, Alzhemed (generically called tramiprosate), didn't achieve the primary endpoints in its North American late-phase study, per top-line results. The Canada-based company also said "it is not possible to draw definitive conclusions" on the drug's effects "due to significant interference from high between-site variations that complicated the statistical analyses beyond expectations." Given this, the Food and Drug Administration "advised that neither the proposed adjusted models nor any further adjustments could be used for this trial to provide results in support of a claim of clinical efficacy." Neurochem shares were down $2.40 to $3.16.