After several days of losses, small-cap stocks staged an early comeback along with the broader market Wednesday. The Russell 2000 added 1% to 746.02, and the S&P SmallCap 600 climbed 0.9% to 394.15.

Among the winners, Bob Evans Farms ( BOBE) climbed 15.5% to $33.60 after the restaurant chain posted better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings after Tuesday's market close. The company earned $16.1 million, or 52 cents a share, compared with $15.3 million, or 42 cents a share, a year ago. Sales came to $436.4 million, up from $418.4 million last year. Analysts were looking for earnings of 41 cents a share on $441.5 million in revenue, according to Thomson Reuters data. Looking forward, Bob Evans expects fiscal 2009 earnings of $2 to $2.10 a share.

Meanwhile, shares of Novatel Wireless ( NVTL) jumped 7.6% to $11.72. The San Diego, Calif., provider of wireless broadband access solutions received an upgrade from Morgan Joseph to buy from hold.

Medical device company Datascope ( DSCP) rallied 10% to $46.14. The Montvale, N.J.-based firm announced it will explore strategic alternatives in response to expressions of interest it received after selling its patient monitoring business.

On the losing side, Frontier Financial ( FTBK), the Everett, Wash.-based holding company for Frontier Bank said it was ending its merger with Washington Banking ( WBCO). Frontier lost 3.9% to $13.97, and Washington Banking plummeted 20% to $10.01.

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