The small-cap sector struggled to keep its head above water along with the rest of the market Wednesday despite good news from names like Beacon Power ( BCON). Beacon, which makes products to support electricity-grid operation, said it will now order the rest of the materials necessary to build its first 10 commercial flywheel units, having successfully completed "all critical performance tests" on its Smart Energy 25 flywheel. Shares of the Wilmington, Mass., company leapt 15.2% to $1.89. France-based biopharma Flamel Technologies ( FLML), meanwhile, licensed its Medusa delivery technology to drugmaking giant Wyeth ( WYE) for development of a marketed protein. Medusa is designed to deliver controlled-release formulations of therapeutic proteins and other molecules without reduction in bioactivity. Flamel shares spiked 86 cents, or 9.4%, to $10; Wyeth recently slipped 1.5% to $45.60. Elsewhere in the health-care sector, an Oppenheimer analyst said NPS Pharmaceuticals' ( NPSP) proposed drug for short bowel syndrome, Gattex, shows strong promise and would play to a largely underserved market. He began coverage of the New Jersey-based with a buy rating, after which shares jumped 14.2% to $4.69. Business-software firm Catapult Communications ( CATT), based in Mountain View, Calif., boosted its prior sales outlook for the fiscal fourth quarter to between $9.5 million and $10.5 million. That's at least $500,000 higher than the only analyst's estimate, as per Thomson Financial. Shares ratcheted up 13.7% to $7.32.
Fellow tech stock Telular ( WRLS) also bounced on an improved outlook -- it now pegs full-year sales from its Telguard unit at between $57 million and $59 million, compared with the prior $53 million to $54 million, due to "a dramatic increase" in its digital line of security products. The unit's fourth-quarter sales should soar 65.3% year over year to $20 million. Shares of the Chicago-based telecom-equipment maker bounced 13.2% to $6.18. On the flip side, consumer-guides publisher Primedia ( PRM) slid 10.1% to $13.09 after Deutsche Bank cut the New York-based outfit to hold from buy. The analyst said its stock appears to be fully valued now that investors have received their special dividend of $2.15 a share. Biomira ( BIOM) was also in the red on word it will reincorporate in the U.S. from its current Canadian base by creating a holding company in Delaware and moving its headquarters to Seattle or thereabouts. In doing this, the biotech company will effect a 6-for-1 reverse stock split -- each Biomira share will swap for a one-sixth share of the holding company. Shares lost 13 cents, or 12%, to 95 cents. The Russell 2000 was down about a point to 781.25; the S&P SmallCap 600 was off fractionally at about 413.