NeurogesX ( NGSX) was one of the biggest winners in Tuesday's cheery small-cap session as the biopharmaceutical company surged nearly 21% on positive top-line clinical trial results. The San Carlos, Calif., company said the late-phase study -- which tested its NGX-4010 pain relief patch for patients with postherpetic neuralgia (a complication of shingles) --
achieved the primary and all secondary endpoints. Shares of NeurogesX were up $1.49 to $8.60. Elsewhere in the health care sector, Massachusetts-based GTC Biotherapeutics ( GTCB) climbed 12.8% after the Food and Drug Administration granted fast track designation to the company's ATryn compound. ATryn is proposed to treat hereditary antithrombin deficiency patients at risk for developing thrombosis or thromboembolism (respectively, blood clots in deeply embedded veins or blood clot lodgment) during surgery or childbirth. GTC can now also submit the associated Biologics License Application for ATryn on a rolling basis. Shares were trading at $1.17, up 15 cents. Semiconductor-equipment maker Kulicke & Soffa Industries ( KLIC), based in Fort Washington, Pa., boosted its fourth-quarter sales forecast by $14 million to roughly $226 million. That should top the average analyst forecast by $13 million, according to Thomson Financial. Shares ratcheted up 9.1% to $9.33. Elsewhere, clean-energies company Hoku Scientific ( HOKU) soared 17% to $10.71 after Piper Jaffray upped the stock rating to market perform from underperform. In the red, however, were several names pressured by negative analyst calls. PeopleSupport ( PSPT), for instance, fell 7.9% after JMP Securities cut the outsourcer to market perform from market outperform, citing the threat that the Los Angeles-based outfit might lose contracts with Washington Mutual and EarthLink -- two of its biggest clients. Shares were down 99 cents at $11.59.
Executive recruiter Heidrick & Struggles International ( HSII) slid after a UBS analyst downgraded it and several other staffing-services firms, saying he believes that credit-market deterioration will induce negative hiring trends over the next few months. And semiconductor Smart Modular Technologies ( SMOD), of Fremont, Calif., was cut to hold from buy at Citigroup. Chicago-based Heidrick traded down 6.3% to $43.91, and SMOD fell 94 cents, or 8.6%, to $10.01. As for broad sector trackers, the Russell 2000 and the S&P SmallCap 600 were both recently adding around 1%.