Small-cap stocks swung back and forth along with the major indices Monday, and both the Russell 2000 and Dow Jones SmallCap 600 were recently down about 1%. One of the big losers for the day, Franklin Bank ( FBTX), increased by $20 million its allowance for credit losses in response to pressure on the housing market and the homebuilding sector. Shares of the Houston banking company crumbled 24% to $4.25. Meanwhile, Simulations Plus ( SLP) took a 17% dive to $5.40 on fourth-quarter earnings. The Lancaster, Calif., pharmaceutical software company registered a loss of $57,000, or zero cents a share, compared with a year-ago profit of $249,000, or 1.5 cents a share. The company blamed an accounting error that led to an increase in its income tax rate from 24% in 2006 to 44% in 2007. One analyst polled by Thomson financial was expecting income of 3 cents a share. In the up-and-down action, several stocks made bullish moves. One big gainer was Kapolei, Hawaii's Hoku Scientific ( HOKU). Shares rose 44% to $8.51 as the provider of clean energy products inked a $306 million, eight-year supply deal with Solarfun ( SOLF). Hoku will deliver polysilicon to Solarfun, which produces photovoltaic cells and modules in China. Solarfun shares were up 4% to $11.36. Another China-related deal lifted China Fire & Security ( CFSG) 13% to $12.81 after it announced it won a $31 million contract with fellow Beijing company Shougang Jingtang Steel to build the steel producer's fire-protection system.
Back home, U.S. Shipping Partners ( USS) announced it will pay in full its 45-cent fourth-quarter distribution on common units. The company also said it anticipates it will have sufficient liquidity to continue to pay the minimum 45-cent quarterly dividend on those common units during 2008. Shares of the Edison, N.J. company gained 14.7% to $11.03. SkillSoft ( SKIL) jumped 16.9% to $10.11. The Nashua, N.H.-based instructive software developer beat expectations, posting fiscal third-quarter GAAP earnings of $6 million, or 6 cents a share, vs. $7.1 million, or 7 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter. Total revenue increased 32% to $75.1 million. Analysts were expecting zero cents a share.