The small-cap sector crawled beneath the struggling broad indices Monday despite surging names like XTL Biopharmaceuticals ( XTLB), which announced it began a phase IIb trial of Bicifadine for treatment of diabetic neuropathic (nervous-system-related) pain. Shares of the Valley Cottage, N.Y., company were up 30.4% to $1.76. InPlay Technologies ( NPLA), based in Phoenix, climbed on word of a purchase-order renewal for its thiNcoder rotary-switch technology. The customer, a "leading supplier of products for the global sleep and respiratory markets," agreed to buy at least one million units through Duraswitch licensees over the next 18 months for a new line of positive-airway-pressure-therapy products. InPlay shares were leaping 15.2% to $1.74. Elsewhere, management-services firm Versar ( VSR) bounced 2.8% after swinging to a fiscal fourth-quarter profit of $803,000, as well as posting a more-than-tripled full-year profit of $5.3 million, or 62 cents a share. Full-year sales soared 68.7% to $102.7 million. Shares of the Springfield, Va., company were trading at $8.94. On the downside today, however, was Cardica ( CRDC), which slid 15.4% to $8.39 after A.G. Edwards cut the stock to sell from buy. The analyst said its shares spiked too high after last week's announcement of two pioneering closed-chest bypass surgeries using a Cardica device that automates the attachment of a blood vessel graft to a coronary artery during bypass surgery.
A.G. Edwards said these procedures were "the earliest of early adopters" and it will take time for the technique to become the standard of care. He added that it's too early in the California-based company's lifecycle for it to be an acquisition target. Central Garden & Pet ( CENT) fell 9.6%, meanwhile, after the Walnut Creek, Calif., company said it will offer 10 million shares, as well as a 1.5-million-share underwriters' option to cover overallotments. Chairman and founder William Brown intends to buy another 500,000 shares in a private placement, concurrent with the public offering. Shares were trading down to $11.03. More broadly, the Russell 2000 gave up about 3 points, or 0.4%, to around 773. The S&P SmallCap 600 lost 0.3% to around 409.