Small-cap stocks generally tracked lower than the major indices Thursday. The Russell 2000 and the SmallCap 600 both ended the day 0.9% lower. Wall Street downgrades hit a few stocks in various sectors. AXT ( AXTI) fell 11.9% to $5.95 after Roth Capital downgraded the semiconductor company to hold from buy. Wachovia lowered YRC Worldwide ( YRCW) from market perform to underperform, and shares of the trucking company fell 10.3% to $13.84. Overstock.com ( OSTK) fell Thursday after the online retailer announced after Wednesday's market close the departure of its COO. Jason Lindsey, the company's president and chief operating officer since April 2006, resigned from those posts and from the board of directors, effective Dec. 31, 2007. The day also saw winners in the small-cap space too, and a couple of energy companies figured prominently. Enterra Energy Trust ( ENT) soared 24% to $1.58 after the Calgary-based company said it inked deals to sell oil and gas properties in Alberta to three unnamed parties for a total of $40.9 million. Proceeds from the sales, which are expected to close by mid-February, will be used to pay down debt. Also trending higher was Westside Energy ( WHT), which climbed 22% to $2.77 on news of a reverse merger. Under the deal, Westside will acquire all the ownership interests in privately held Crusader Energy Group and issue about 152.4 million shares of its common stock to Crusader. The Crusader management team, which will manage the merged company, will receive options to purchase an additional 35 million shares at an exercise price of $3 apiece. The resulting company will be renamed Crusader Energy Group. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter.
Another climber Thursday was KongZhong ( KONG). The Beijing-based wireless technology name soared 11% to $6.89 on news of a venture with China Sports Industry Group to develop sports-related content for mobile phones, including wireless value-added services and wireless Internet sites. Also getting a boost was NeuroMetrix ( NURO), which Sun Trust Robinson Humphrey upgraded from neutral to buy. The stock climbed 14.5% to $10.97.