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Assured Guaranty, Big 5: U.S. Small-Cap Equity Movers

Feb. 29 (Bloomberg) -- The Russell 2000 Index fell 1.5 percent to 695.06 at 10:23 a.m. in New York. The small-cap benchmark was set to lose 0.1 percent this week, compared with a 0.7 percent weekly decline for the Standard & Poor's 500 Index, whose members have a median market value 22 times larger than the Russell 2000. The S&P 500 dropped 1.7 percent today.

3Com Corp. (COMS US) rose the most since Sept. 28, gaining 20 percent to $3.50. Bain Capital LLC and Huawei Technologies Co. plan to reapply within several weeks for U.S. approval to acquire the networking systems and services provider for $2.2 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Assured Guaranty Ltd. (AGO US) jumped 14 percent to $26.07, the highest price since Dec. 31. Billionaire Wilbur Ross agreed to invest as much as $1 billion in the AAA-rated bond insurer capital to help the company win market share from MBIA Inc. (MBI US) and Ambac Financial Group Inc. (ABK US).

Big 5 Sporting Goods Corp. (BGFV US) posted the steepest decline since its initial public offering in 2002, tumbling 17 percent to $9.85. The athletic-gear retailer said it expects first-quarter sales at stores open at least a year to decline. Big 5 also forecast profit of 23 cents a share at most for the period, missing the average analyst prediction by 5 cents.

Fremont General Corp. (FMT US) lost the most since at least May 1983, falling 64 percent to 84 cents. The California lender forced to exit the subprime mortgage business said capital is eroding and it may have to find a buyer.

Deckers Outdoor Corp. (DECK US) fell the most since Jan. 25, losing 8 percent to $116.35. The maker of Ugg shoes forecast first-quarter per-share profit to be the same as or ``modestly higher'' than the 75 cents reported a year earlier. Analysts, on average, estimated 92 cents, according to a Bloomberg survey.

Omnivision Technologies Inc. (OVTI US) had the steepest advance since December 2005, adding 14 percent to $15.99. The maker of image sensors for camera phones said that, excluding some items, it earned 55 cents a share in the fiscal third quarter. That topped the 47-cent average estimate from analysts in a Bloomberg survey.

Sapient Corp. (SAPE US) rose the most since February 2006, climbing 15 percent to $7.20. The technology consulting company said it expects sales of at least $155 million in the first quarter. That exceeded the average analyst estimate of $148 million in a Bloomberg survey.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lynn Thomasson in New York at lthomasson@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Nagi at chrisnagi@bloomberg.net.

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