The small-cap sector headed south Wednesday along with most other stocks, but Origin Agritech ( SEED) traded heavily to surge more than 50%. The China-based crop-seed company announced that it was chosen by Forbes Asia as one of Asia's 200 "Best Under a Billion" companies -- those with less than $1 billion in annual sales that, according to the magazine, "are vetted for consistent growth of both sales and profits over three years" and "far outrace the market." The list was first published online two weeks ago. Origin shares gained $3.92 to $11.66. Lindsay ( LNN), a maker of irrigation systems for the agricultural industry, leapt 8.3% to $49.92 on a rise in fiscal fourth-quarter earnings. The Omaha, Neb., company posted $3.8 million, or 32 cents a share, vs. 26 cents a share last year. That misses the sole analyst target by a nickel, according to Thomson Financial, but surging revenue of $73.5 million was better than expected. Lindsay lent support to both the Russell 2000 and the S&P SmallCap 600, but the indices were still off 0.7% and 0.6%, respectively. Elsewhere, Helen of Troy ( HELE) -- another Russell 2000 member -- saw mixed trading after fiscal second-quarter earnings came to 56 cents a share, including a favorable one-off tax settlement of 24 cents a share, on $157.9 million in revenue. Four analysts were looking for 39-cent EPS before one-time items; two had sought revenue of $157.4 million.
Helen of Troy also cut its full-year revenue guidance to a below-par range of $660 million to $680 million. Earnings are now forecast between $1.90 to $2.10 a share, including the tax settlement, compared with prior guidance for more than $2 a share. Analysts are looking for $1.91. Shares traded as much as 11% lower this morning before briefly jutting into positive territory. Recently, they were down 1.5% at $19.40. Youbet.com ( UBET), meanwhile, tumbled 24.5% after the horse-racing gambling Web site disclosed that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency has obtained a warrant to search its Woodland, Hills, Calif., headquarters for certain customers' wagering activities. Youbet said it's not a target of the probe at this point. Shares were trading 49 cents lower at $1.51. KMG Chemicals ( KMGB) was another small-cap loser after widely missing Wall Street targets with fiscal fourth-quarter earnings of $2 million, or 18 cents a share. That more than triples year-ago earnings, but it comes in 15 cents short of the consensus. Revenue, at $25 million, also trailed two analysts' views despite representing a big year-over-year jump. Shares of the Houston-based specialty-chemicals maker lost 15.4% to $15.49.