Small-cap stocks were underperforming the major indices Thursday, and among the biggest losers was Vanda Pharmaceuticals ( VNDA). Shares of the Maryland biopharma company slumped more than 25% after it proposed to sell $100 million worth of convertible senior bonds to institutional buyers. Initial purchasers will have an option for $25 million more in order to cover overallotments. Proceeds are planned for commercialization and R&D costs, among other things. Shares were off $3.85 to $11.15. Biopure ( BPUR), another health-care name, agreed to sell 16.85 million equity units for 85 cents apiece, with each to consist of one freshly minted share and a warrant to purchase another new share with a $1.06 exercise price. Underwriters have an overallotment option for roughly another 2.53 million units. Shares of the Cambridge, Mass., company slid 28% to 77 cents. And China Precision Steel ( CPSL) tumbled 24% to $6.45 after the Hong Kong-based steel manufacturer agreed to sell 7.1 million of its shares for $6.75 apiece to institutional investors. Away from share and debt offerings, Flotek Industries ( FTK) sank on disappointing third-quarter earnings. The Houston-based purveyor of oilfield services and equipment said its profit jumped 43.9% year over year to $5 million, or 26 cents a share, but that was still a nickel shy of analyst estimates from Thomson Financial. Shares were down $10.59, or 20.9%, to $40.21.
General Communication ( GNCMA), an Alaskan communications company, came in well under targets with a sliding third-quarter profit of 4 cents a share. Semiconductor outfit Opnext ( OPXT), of New Jersey, was a penny short. Shares of the companies fell 27.1% and 12.9%, respectively. The Russell 2000, which tracks Vanda, Flotek and General Communication, was losing 2.9% to 804.23. And General Communication helped weigh on the S&P SmallCap 600, which recently gave up 3% to about 418. Spreadtrum Communications ( SPRD), however, surged 19% after beating on both income and revenue for the third quarter and estimating an above-par fourth-quarter revenue range of between $46 million and $47 million. Shares of the China-based chipmaker were trading at $15.38. Meanwhile, PharmaNet Development Group ( PDGI) flew 13.3% higher after it crushed Wall Street expectations with adjusted non-GAAP earnings of $10 million, or 52 cents a share. That compares with 20 cents a share last year. The Princeton, N.J., company also hiked up its 2007 earnings guidance to between $1.22 and $1.29 a share from the prior $1.12 to $1.24 a share. Analysts are seeking $1.18. Shares of the drug-development-services company tacked on $4.30 to $36.70. Finally, Transmeridian Exploration ( TMY) vaulted 15.4% to $2.10 after the oil-and-gas driller announced it has gotten unspecified "final, non-binding bids" for a company takeout. The Houston-based company says it's now in "active negotiations with prospective buyers."