Updated from 2:44 p.m. EST with new stock pricesSmall-cap stocks started Wednesday lagging the sluggish major indices only to ease back into positive territory in afternoon trading. The Russell 2000 recently edged up 0.3% to 797.03. Among the day's winners, MRV Communications ( MRVC) saw shares rise 21.4% to $2.50 after Source Photonics, a subsidiary of the Chatsworth, Calif., communications equipment maker, registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering. Terms were not disclosed. Meanwhile, Newark, N.Y.-based Ultralife Batteries ( ULBI) jumped 16.5% to $19.52 after announcing it had landed a $40 million defense subcontract from an unidentified U.S. defense contractor to supply advanced communication systems. This order is a follow-on to another $62 million deal made announced last week. Ultralife said it expects to deliver the systems sometime in 2008. Also rising was Akeena Solar ( AKNS). The Los Gatos, Calif., maker of solar power systems announced that Comerica Bank has agreed to increase Akeena's credit line from $7.5 million to $25 million. Shares leapt 22.4% to $8.10. On the losing side, broader sector declines sent shares of some small-caps sliding. Following a holiday spike in oil prices, investors sold off airline stocks, sending Phoenix, Ariz.-based Mesa Air ( MESA) down 6.8% to $3.31. Homebuilders were also hurt as Standard & Poor's reported an October decline in home prices. Irvine, Calif.'s Standard Pacific Corp. ( SPF) lost 3% to $3.83. M/I Homes ( MHO), based in Columbus, Ohio, lost 5.2% to $10.29, and Meritage Homes ( MTH) took a 4.1% tumble to $15.81.