NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The Russell 2000 index tacked on nearly 1% in afternoon trades on Monday, outpacing gains in the major U.S. equity indices.

At last check, the small-cap index was up 0.9% to 788.74. The bounce pushed the Russell 2000, which has fallen sharply in June, back into positive territory for 2011. As recently as the end of May, the index was up 8.7% year-to-date.





The Russell's top five holdings are Riverbed Technology ( RVBD), up 23 cents to $32.16; Tibco Software ( TIBX), surging 4.8% to $24.94; Rackspace Holdings ( RAX), up 12 cents to $38.39; Verifone Systems ( PAY), adding 1.1% to $40.38; and American Capital Agency ( AGNC), off 2 cents to $30.13.

Last week's top performer in the index was American Realty Investor ( ARL), which more than doubled without releasing any news, prompting the company to issue a statement on June 13, saying it doesn't comment on unusual market activity. The volatile stock is typically very thinly traded and is down 9% to $3.70 on volume of less than 10,000 on Monday.

The biggest percentage decliner for the period spanning from June 10-June 17 was SunPower ( SPWRA), which saw its shares fall 21%. Last week, Total successfully completed its tender offer for a 60% stake in SunPower, buying 30.2 million Class A shares and 25.2 million Class B shares for $23.25 each. The stock fell 1.5% to $16.47 in recent trades.

On Monday, two of the biggest small-cap winners were Dex One ( DEXO), and Acura Pharmaceuticals ( ACUR).

Shares of Dex One surged 38% to $2.90 on volume of 6.6 million, more than 10 times the issue's three-month trailing daily average. The company announced an advertising alliance with Google ( GOOG) early Monday, saying it's agreed to be a Google Adwords Certified Partner.

The deal calls for Dex One to receive "integrated marketing support, training, engineering support, optimization services, and access to new products" from Google. Based in Cary, N.C., Dex One is a marketing services provider that focuses on local businesses. The company was formed when R.H. Donnelly emerged from bankruptcy protection in early 2010.

Dex One reported its fiscal first-quarter results on May 2, posting adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) of $175 million and revenue of $391 million. Its second-quarter results are expected on August 1.

Acura Pharmaceuticals' stock is up nearly 24% to $4.79 on volume of 3.8 million, more than 25 times the issue's three-month trailing daily average of around 167,000. Before the opening bell, the company and its partner Pfizer ( PFE) announced the receipt of marketing approval for Oxectatm tablets for pain management from the Food and Drug Administration.

Early in Monday's session, Acura shares soared to a new 52-week high of $6.76, underlining the volatility of the stock, which traded above $5 as recently as June 6.

A notable mover to the downside on Monday was Dice Holdings ( DHX), which lost 7% to $11.90 on more than twice its daily average volume. There was no corporate news from the Urbandale, Iowa-based provider of technology job recruitment services, whose shares haven't dipped below $12 on an intraday basis since Dec. 10.

Evercore Partners initiated coverage of Dice on Monday with an overweight rating and $16 price target, saying the stock's weakness of late reflects "market fears about the economy and the LinkedIn ( LNKD) IPO." Evercore's opinion, however, is that recent weekly job posting data suggest's Dice's business is "actually reaccelerating" and the firm's sees the company as: "A very well run, niche player in online recruitment."

Evercore expects Dice to post adjusted earnings of 45 cents a share for fiscal 2011 on revenue of $175 million, slightly below the current consensus view for a profit of 48 cents a share on revenue of $177.4 million.

"We believe Dice's strong brand position, rapid growth and vertical focus will position it well, particularly in the face of LinkedIn's rapid ascension in the more general professional end of the online recruitment market," Evercore stated.

Wall Street was already fairly bullish on Dice ahead of Evercore's initiation with 5 of the 8 analysts covering the stock at either strong buy (4) or buy (1).

-- Written by Michael Baron in New York.

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