The small-cap sector inched forward after mixed action, but generally trailed behind the major indices Thursday.

One of the day's biggest gainers, Irvine, Calif.-based Local.com ( LOCM) chugged ahead 45% to $5.41 on news that the company would begin licensing its patented geographic indexing technology to five client companies.

Strong fiscal fourth-quarter earnings from Kulicke & Soffa ( KLIC) bumped shares up 10% to $7.47. The Fort Washington, Pa., semiconductor-equipment maker posted continuing-operations earnings of $30.3 million, or 47 cents a share, blowing by analyst EPS expectations of 33 cents and railing on year-ago earnings of 19 cents a share.

Acacia Research ( ACTG), a technology licensing company based in Newport Beach, Calif., saw shares shoot up 10% to $17.15 after the company announced it had settled a patent-infringement lawsuit with AT&T ( T). Terms are confidential.

Meanwhile, Pittsburgh's Ansoft ( ANST) issued solid fiscal second-quarter earnings. The software maker posted earnings of 21 cents a share, or $5.2 million, up from 14 cents a share, or $3.7 million, in the same period last year. After spending most of the day in positive territory, shares dipped a penny to $29.28.

On the ropes for the day was Home Solutions of America ( HSOA). The provider of home restoration and construction services slumped 20% to $1.57 after delaying its third-quarter earnings report and conference call. The company had previously delayed the report on Nov. 7 in order to review related-party transactions, among other things.

Orsus Xelent ( ORS) likewise took a pounding. Shares of the China-based mobile phone maker were down 26% after the company cut its full-year sales-growth outlook to between 20% and 30%, compared with 2006. Prior guidance had the increase at more than 30%. Third-quarter earnings rose by a penny from last year to 9 cents a share, but shares were still falling $1.20 to $3.39.

Superior Offshore ( DEEP) lost 11.7% to $8.60 after reporting a third-quarter earnings miss. Income decreased dramatically to $3.6 million, or 14 cents a share, from $13.7 million, or 92 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Analysts were expecting EPS of 30 cents, excluding special items.

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