Small-cap stocks gained slightly Tuesday only to stumble along with the broader market into the red by the afternoon. The Russell 2000 fell 0.3% to 738.75, and the S&P SmallCap 600 likewise slipped 0.2% to 390.41.

Among the few winners, VNUS Medical Technologies climbed 16.5% to $20.52. The San Jose, Calif., maker of medical devices updated its estimate for 2008 royalty revenue, saying it now expects $12.5 million to $12.9 million, vs. a previously announced forecast of $11.3 million to $11.7 million.

The company agreed to settle patent litigation that began in 2005 with AngioDynamics ( ANGO) and Vascular Solutions ( VASC). Venus is granting the companies a non-exclusive patent covering certain endovenous laser products. In return, AngioDynamics and Vascular Soutions will make upfront payments of $6.8 million and $3.1 million, respectively, for past litigation, as well as pay royalties for endovenous laser products sold in the U.S. until 2017.

On the losing side, Boulder, Colo.-based New Frontier , which produces adult-themed and general motion picture entertainment, fell 29.5% to $3.68. The company reported fourth-quarter fiscal 2008 earnings of $1.9 million, or 8 cents a share, vs. $1.7 million, or 7 cents a share, a year ago. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters were expecting EPS of 9 cents. The company also announced it would suspend indefinitely its quarterly dividend.

Mitcham Industries ( MIND), which provides equipment leasing, sales and services to the seismic industry, tumbled 11% to $19.37. The Huntsville, Texas, company posted fiscal 2009 first-quarter income of $4.3 million, or 41 cents a share, compared with $3.9 million, or 39 cents a share, a year ago. Analysts were expecting 40 cents a share, but revenue of $18.5 million lagged the consensus estimate of $19.5 million.

Beijing's Origin Agritech ( SEED), a maker of hybrid crop seeds, lost 9.2% to $6.10. The company announced a second-quarter loss of $4.3 million, or 18 cents a share, vs. a loss of $4.1 million, or 17 cents a share, a year ago.