Small-cap stocks traded higher for most of the day before taking a hard fall along with the major indices, and Virgin Mobile USA ( VM) was among the winners after its
initial public offering . The prepaid-wireless outfit priced 27.5 million shares at $15 a pop, mostly from the company itself, for trade on the New York Stock Exchange. Underwriters have a 30-day option for about another 4.1 million shares to cover overallotments. Shares of the Warren, N.J., company were recently up 3.7% to $15.55. Newpark Resources ( NR), Texas-based purveyor of services to the oil and gas industry, jumped 10.6% to $6.26 after agreeing to sell its U.S. Environmental Services business for $81.5 million in cash to Trinity TLM Acquisitions. The deal, which will probably close by year-end, also includes a five-year earn-out provision potentially worth up to $8 million. Agfeed Industries ( FEED), a China-based animal-feed company, leapt 7.2% to $12.85 after Nasdaq approved it for listing on its Global Market index. The change will effect at open of business on Friday. Among the losers, however, was Ruby Tuesday ( RT). Shares of the restaurant chain sank 14.4% after it pocketed just $11.1 million, or 21 cents a share, in the fiscal first quarter. That's nearly half of year-ago earnings, and it comes in a penny shy of Thomson Financial's per-share analyst expectations.
The Maryville, Tenn.-based outfit also said same-restaurant sales at company-owned locations dropped 4.8%, while domestic franchises saw a 2.9% fall. Total revenue was up 2.4% to $346.8 million. Shares surrendered $2.70 to $16.10. In more disappointing earnings, EZ-E-EM ( EZEM) took a fall after income from continuing operations dropped sharply year over year to 6 cents a share, or 9 cents under the sole analyst's target. A year ago the Lake Success, N.Y., purveyor of medical devices and contrast products made 14 cents a share. EZ stock was down 19% to $15.95. Wireless-services seller InPhonic ( INPC) suffered one of the biggest price slides overall on word third-quarter results will be "significantly below" prior company guidance. The Washington-based company has hired Lazard to help conduct a review of financing and strategic alternatives, which among other things could include a merger, sale, strategic alliance or credit-agreement refinancing. InPhonic has additionally ousted chief operating officer Brian Curran. Shares plummeted 61.9%, or $1.20, to 74 cents. WJ Communications ( WJCI), based in San Jose, Calif., tumbled 26% after saying third-quarter revenue will likely range between $9.7 million and $9.9 million to fall short of the $11.6 million average Street estimate, and that fourth-quarter demand is expected to be "lower than previously expected." The radio-frequency semiconductor firm also announced it retained Thomas Weisel Partners in order to evaluate strategic alternatives. Shares were changing hands at 89 cents. More broadly, the Russell 2000 and the S&P SmallCap 600 were recently plunging 1.2% and 1%, respectively.