The small cap indices were trading flat along with the major indices after China announced plans to raise domestic gasoline and diesel prices by 17% to 18%. The Russell 2000 was trading at 733.60, up about 0.5%, and the S&P SmallCap 600 was at 387.34, up less than 0.5%. Shares of Casella Waste ( CWST) rose 14% to 13.74 after it reported strong earnings and raised its guidance. On the strength of those results, Scott Levine, an analyst from JPMorgan, upgraded the stock of the Rutland, Vt. garbage collection and recycling company to overweight from neutral, saying cash flow will likely double in 2009. Shares of Cott ( COT) rose 11% to $2.78 after it announced plans to reduce its workforce. The Canadian soft-drink maker revised its annual operating income for the current year by 50% to 70% above the previous estimate of $36.3 million. Shares of Pier One ( PIR) dropped nearly 21% to $4.95 after reporting a larger-than-expected first quarter loss. The retailer reported a loss of $32.8 million, or 37 cents a share, on revenue of $356 million. Analysts expected a loss of 15 cents a share on revenue of $338 million. Shares of Delta Apparel ( DLA) rose 14% to $4.84 after it reaffirmed its outlook for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended on June 28, 2008. The Duluth, Ga. retailer expects earnings of 40 cents to 46 cents on sales ranging from $88 million to $98 million for the fourth quarter. For the current year it expects a loss per share of 10 cents and 16 cents and sales ranging from $305 million to $315 million.
Shares of Northwest Airline ( NWA) were up 12% due to a decline in crude oil prices of 2.82 to $133.86. The decline in crude oil is attributed to a move by China to raise gas and diesel prices to reduce demand. Fuel prices are considered the single largest expense for the airline industry. XM Satellite Radio ( XMSR) and Sirius Satellite ( SIRI) were trading significantly lower, with XM down 17% to $8.61 and Sirius down 12% to $2.14 after an analyst slashed price targets for both stocks. Goldman Sachs analyst Mark Wienkes lowered the price target for Sirius to $1.75 from $2.25 and for XM to $6.50 from $11.50. He expects the losses for both firms will be larger than previously estimated.