Updated from 2:08 p.m. EST with new stock pricesLike their broader-market counterparts, small-cap stocks flirted with progress early in the day Wednesday only to give in to a post-holiday hangover. The Russell 2000 slipped 1.6% to 753.55 and the S&P SmallCap 600 slumped 1.2% to 390.41. One of the day's big losers, VeriFone ( PAY), sank 14.8% to $19.81 after announcing that it will restate financial results for the first three quarters of its fiscal year ended Oct. 31, 2007. The San Jose, Calif.-based maker of electronic payment systems said after the market close Monday that it is uncertain how much time it will take for an audit committee to complete its investigation of events leading up to the restatements, but that it's unlikely to file its annual report before March. Direct marketer Harte-Hanks ( HHS) hit a new 52-week low after Deutsche Bank downgraded the San Antonio, Texas, company to sell from hold and a reduced price target to $15 from $18. Harte-Hanks also hired Doug Shepard to the serve as CFO, a position that company president Dean Blythe has filled on an interim basis. Shares were recently trading down 9.8% at $15.61. On the winning side, Los Gatos, Calif.-based Akeena Solar ( AKNS) jumped 43.8% to $11.45 on news that the maker of solar systems landed a distribution deal with Suntech ( STP). Suntech will distribute Akeena's Andalay panels in Europe, Japan and Australia starting this month. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Meanwhile, shares of Force Protection ( FRPT), a Lasdon, S.C., maker of blast-resistant vehicles, climbed 9.8% to $5.14 after the company said its joint venture with General Dynamics ( GD), Force Dynamics, broke monthly vehicle production records in December. Mediacom Communications ( MCCC) was another big gainer. Pali Research upgraded the Middletown, N.Y., cable systems developer to neutral from sell. The stock rose 14.8% to $5.27.