BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- Small-cap stocks, measured by the Russell 2000 Index, were little changed in March, beating the broader market during a time of crisis in Japan and the Middle East.

Still, many carry risks rarely present at larger peers, including the inability to remain compliant with listing standards of the Nasdaq, spurring delisting warnings from the exchange.

Overall, March was a losing month for most equities, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite each down more than 1%. Cisco Systems ( CSCO), a constituent of the S&P 500, dropped 7% this month alone. Investors, though, bid up small-cap stocks, which is odd considering this class of stocks usually gets punished when the market is weak.

But some smaller companies, which typically expose investors to greater volatility, suffer from deficiencies ranging from violations of the minimum bid-price rule, as share prices of some penny stocks have languished below $1, to violations of board independence, delinquency and market value.

Companies faced with a delisting often meet their fate with large losses. Fuqi International ( FUQI.PK), a Chinese jewelry company, landed on the Nasdaq's list of non-compliant companies back in April 2010 due to delinquency in filing its annual report. Fuqi, which has faced accounting errors like other Chinese companies, was delinquent in filing other quarterly reports and also failed to hold its annual shareholder meeting. The stock is down more than 50% this year and traded on the Pink Sheets as of Tuesday.

Because companies on exchanges' watch lists record higher-than-average volatility, risk-friendly investors have the chance to make lots of money, either by shorting the stocks on expectations shares will fall, or going long on the hopes they will live to fight another day. Companies like eDiets.com ( DIET) and Star Buffet ( STRZ), both slapped with delisting warnings, are up 73% and down 21%, respectively, over the past two months.

Nevertheless, the following 16 companies were notified in March that they're in violation of listing requirements and could be kicked off the Nasdaq. The companies now have a limited window of time to regain compliance with the exchange's listing rules.


StemCells ( STEM)

Company Profile: StemCells researches, develops and commercializes stem cell therapeutics. Its research and development programs are focused on its cellular medicine programs, where it identifies and develops cell-based therapeutics.

Current Share Price: 86 cents (March 29)

Listing Violation: Bid price. The listing rule requires that a company maintains a minimum closing bid price of $1 per share for its common stock. StemCells shares last closed above $1 on Jan. 18.

Received Nasdaq Notice: March 3

Management's Expected Action: StemCells said in a regulatory filing that the company will continue to monitor the closing bid price for its common stock and consider its available options to regain compliance with the Nasdaq minimum bid price requirement, which may include applying for an extension of the compliance period or an appeal to a Nasdaq Listing Qualifications Panel. The company has until Aug. 30 to regain compliance with the rule.

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Agenus ( AGEN)

Company Profile: Agenus is a biotechnology company developing and commercializing technologies to treat cancers and infectious diseases, based on immunological approaches.

Current Share Price: 91 cents (March 29)

Listing Violation: Bid price. The listing rule requires that a company maintains a minimum closing bid price of $1 per share for its common stock. Agenus shares last closed above $1 on Jan. 18.

Received Nasdaq Notice: March 3

Management's Expected Action: Agenus has until Aug. 30 to regain compliance with the bid price requirement. The company did not offer a plan for regaining compliance with the rule, but noted it may be eligible for an additional 180 days to regain compliance with the bid price rule, assuming it continues to meet the Nasdaq Capital Market's initial listing criteria.


Brooklyn Federal Bancorp ( BFSB)

Company Profile: Brooklyn Federal operates as the holding company for Brooklyn Federal Savings Bank, which provides various banking products and services in Brooklyn, Nassau, and Suffolk, New York

Current Share Price: 66 cents (March 29)

Listing Violation: Bid price. The listing rule requires that a company maintains a minimum closing bid price of $1 per share for its common stock. Brooklyn Federal shares last closed above $1 on Jan. 19.

Brooklyn Federal has been hit with several delisting warnings over the past few months, relating to its market value of publicly held shares and delinquency in filing its 10-K for the quarter ended Sept. 30 and 10-Q report.

Received Nasdaq Notice: March 7

Management's Expected Action: The company has until Sept. 6 to regain compliance with the minimum bid price requirement. Brooklyn Federal said the filings of its 10-K and 10-Q have been delayed due to the resignation of the company's independent registered public accounting firm on Dec. 20. The audit committee engaged a new registered public accounting firm, but it has completed only the initial stages of the 10-K audit. Meanwhile, Brooklyn Federal has until July 11 to regain compliance with the requirement for a minimum market value of publicly held stock of $5 million.

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Bionovo ( BNVI)

Company Profile: Bionovo is a clinical-stage drug discovery and development company focusing on women's health and cancer.

Current Share Price: 64 cents (March 29)

Listing Violation: Bid price. The listing rule requires that a company maintains a minimum closing bid price of $1 per share for its common stock. Bionovo shares last closed above $1 on Jan. 27.

Received Nasdaq Notice: March 14

Management's Expected Action: Bionovo has until Sept. 12 to regain compliance with the minimum bid price rule. The company said it intends to use its best efforts to regain compliance with Nasdaq's minimum bid requirement.


Parametric Technology ( PMTC)

Company Profile: Parametric Technology develops, markets and supports product-development software solutions and related services that help companies design products, manage product information and improve their product development processes.

Current Share Price: $21.90 (March 29)

Listing Violation: Board independence. The listing rule requires the board of directors to have a majority of members who are independent.

Received Nasdaq Notice: March 15

Management's Expected Action: Parametric said the company is conducting a search for an additional member of its board of directors with the intention of appointing the new director "as soon as practicable." After Parametric had an annual meeting of shareholders March 9, the company had an equal number of independent and non-independent directors. The company said it has until Sept. 6 to regain compliance.

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Repros Therapeutics ( RPRX)

Company Profile: Repros Therapeutics is development-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of oral small-molecule drugs for major unmet medical needs.

Current Share Price: $5.46 (March 29)

Listing Violation: Market makers. The company's Series A Warrants ( RPRXW) and Series B Warrants ( RPRXZ) haven't had a minimum of two active and registered market makers.

Received Nasdaq Notice: March 15

Management's Expected Action: Repros has until April 14 to regain compliance with the rule. Repros said that due to certain technical issues, relevant information related to the active and registered market makers for the warrants wasn't being disseminated regarding quotes. Repros said that such technical issues have been resolved and it anticipates that it will demonstrate compliance with the rule before the April 14 deadline.


Tidelands Bancshares ( TDBK)

Company Profile: Tidelands Bancshares is a bank holding company engaged in the business of accepting demand, savings and time deposits insured by the FDIC and providing commercial, consumer and mortgage loans to the general public.

Current Share Price: 69 cents (March 29)

Listing Violation: Bid price. The listing rule requires that a company maintains a minimum closing bid price of $1 per share for its common stock. Tidelands shares last closed above $1 on Feb. 10. Tidelands is also in violation of a Nasdaq listing requirement that the company maintains a minimum market value of publicly held shares of $5 million.

Received Nasdaq Notice: March 16

Management's Expected Action: Tidelands has until Sept. 12 to regain compliance with the bid price rule, although the company did not provide any statement regarding its course of action. Separately, Tidelands has until June 15 to satisfy the minimum market value rule.

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FNB United ( FNBN)

Company Profile: FNB United offers a complete line of consumer, mortgage and business banking services, including loan, deposit, cash management, investment management and trust services.

Current Share Price: 34 cents (March 29)

Listing Violation: Market value/equity/net income. Stockholders' equity was less than $2.5 million as of Dec. 31, and the company doesn't meet the alternative standards of market value of listed securities or net income from continuing operations.

Received Nasdaq Notice: March 16

Management's Expected Action: FNB United has until May 2 to submit a plan to regain compliance with the continued listing standards. FNB United said it intends to submit a plan to regain compliance by the May 2 deadline but warned that it can give no assurance that its plan will be accepted or, if accepted, the plan will be successfully implemented by Sept. 12.


China MediaExpress Holdings ( CCME)

Company Profile: China MediaExpress operates a television advertising network on inter-city express buses in China.

Current Share Price: $11.88 (Trading halted since March 11)

Listing Violation: Delinquency. China MediaExpress failed to file its annual 10-K report with the SEC in a timely manner.

Received Nasdaq Notice: March 16

Management's Expected Action: China MediaExpress is required to submit a plan of compliance regarding the filing of its Form 10-K not later than March 31, according to the Nasdaq. The company said it intends to comply with Nasdaq's requirements on or before the deadline.

China MediaExpress has more pressing issues to deal with. On March 14, China MediaExpress said its audit firm, the Chinese affiliate of Deloitte & Touche, had determined it "was no longer able to rely on the representations of management, and recommended that certain issues encountered during the audit be addressed by an independent investigation." China MediaExpress CFO Jacky Lam also resigned.

The news came weeks after short sellers, who profit from a stock's decline, accused China MediaExpress of fraud. Shares of China MediaExpress, halted since March 11, are down 25% this year.

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China Automotive Systems ( CAAS)

Company Profile: China Automotive Systems makes power-steering systems and other component parts for cars.

Current Share Price: $9.57 (March 29)

Listing Violation: Delinquency. China Automotive Systems failed to file its annual 10-K report with the SEC in a timely manner.

Received Nasdaq Notice: March 17

Management's Expected Action: China Automotive previously announced it was reviewing the accounting treatment of convertible notes issued in February 2008. The company doesn't expect a review to be completed until the second quarter of 2011, which is when it will file its annual report and amended quarterly reports. China Automotive has until May 16 to submit a plan to regain compliance with the Nasdaq.

Following the announcement of an expected restatement of financial results, several law firms said they were investigating China Automotive for possible violations of federal securities laws. Like many other Chinese reverse mergers, the company is coming under increased scrutiny for materially inaccurate financial statements.


China Agritech ( CAGC)

Company Profile: China Agritech sells fertilizer products and organic liquid compound fertilizer in China.

Current Share Price: $6.88 (March 29)

Listing Violation: Delinquency. China Agritech failed to file its annual 10-K report with the SEC in a timely manner.

Received Nasdaq Notice: March 21

Management's Expected Action: China Agritech is required to submit a plan of compliance to the Nasdaq no later than March 31. The company said it intends to comply with the Nasdaq's requirements on or before the deadline.

China Agritech announced the receipt of the Nasdaq's warning letter not long after the company disclosed in a regulatory filing that it had fired its accounting firm, Ernst & Young Hua Ming. China Agritech faces securities fraud class-action lawsuits due to a research report by a short seller. The report alleges that China Agritech inflated its revenue, failed to account for millions of investor dollars and has virtually no product in the market.

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Clearwire ( CLWR)

Company Profile: Clearwire builds and operates next-generation wireless broadband networks.

Current Share Price: $5.51 (March 29)

Listing Violation: Audit committee composition. The listing rule requires that a majority of the board of directors must consist of independent directors and that the company's audit committee have at least three members, all of whom must be independent.

Received Nasdaq Notice: March 21

Management's Expected Action: Clearwire currently has a vacancy on its audit committee after John Stanton resigned from the position. The Nasdaq has provided the company with a cure period that lasts until Sept. 6, and Clearwire says it expects to fill the vacancy on the audit committee within that time limit.


America Service Group ( ASGR)

Company Profile: America Service Group provides or administers health-care services to over 160 correctional facilities throughout the U.S. It is also a non-governmental provider and/or administrator of correctional health-care services.

Current Share Price: $25.68 (March 29)

Listing Violation: Audit committee composition. The listing rule requires that a majority of the board of directors must be comprised of independent directors and that the company's audit committee have at least three members, all of whom must be independent.

Received Nasdaq Notice: March 21

Management's Expected Action: America Service Group said John McCauley, who served as a member of the company's audit committee, has filled the newly created position of chief risk officer as of March 1. The Nasdaq has given America Service Group a cure period to satisfy the requirement. The company says it anticipates replacing McCauley on the audit committee prior to the next audit committee meeting.

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Integra Bank ( IBNK)

Company Profile: Integra Bank provides a range of financial services to the communities it serves in Indiana, Kentucky, Illinois and Ohio.

Current Share Price: 26 cents (March 29)

Listing Violation: Market value/equity/net income. The Nasdaq Capital Market requires a minimum stockholders' equity of $10 million for continued listing.

Received Nasdaq Notice: March 21

Management's Expected Action: Integra Bank has until May 5 to submit a compliance plan to the Nasdaq. If the plan is accepted, the Nasdaq will give the company an extension until Sept. 17 to regain compliance with the exchange's listing requirements. Integra Bank said it's currently in the process of evaluating the content of its compliance plan.


OmniVision Technologies ( OVTI)

Company Profile: OmniVision Technologies designs, develops and markets semiconductor image-sensor devices. Its main product is image-sensing devices CameraChip.

Current Share Price: $33.35 (March 29)

Listing Violation: Board independence and audit committee composition. The board of directors must comprise a majority of independent directors and that the audit committee must consist of at least three members, each of whom must be independent.

Received Nasdaq Notice: March 21

Management's Expected Action: Andrew Wang, one of OmniVision's independent directors, retired and resigned effective as of Feb. 24. OmniVision said it is currently conducting a search for a qualified candidate to fill the vacancy left on its board and expects that it will regain compliance with Nasdaq listing requirements within the cure period provided.

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ShengdaTech ( SDTH)

Company Profile: ShengdaTech is a Chinese manufacturer of specialty additives.

Current Share Price: $3.55 (March 29)

Listing Violation: Delinquency. ShengdaTech failed to file its annual 10-K report with the SEC in a timely manner.

Received Nasdaq Notice: March 21

Management's Expected Action: The Nasdaq has requested that ShengdaTech submit a plan to regain compliance by March 31. The Nasdaq can grant up to 180 calendar days to regain compliance if it accepts ShengdaTech's plan. The company said it currently intends to submit a plan to regain compliance with the Nasdaq listing rules.

However, the company faces bigger problems as a special committee is currently conducting an internal investigation into potentially serious discrepancies and unexplained issues relating financial records identified by ShengdaTech's auditors, which caused the delay in filing its annual report. Several law firms have already announced class-action lawsuits against the company, arguing that ShengdaTech's financial statements were materially false and misleading.

-- Written by Robert Holmes in Boston.

>>To see these stocks in action, visit the 16 Small-Cap Stocks in Danger of Delisting portfolio on Stockpickr.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Robert Holmes.

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Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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