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Small-Cap Snapshot: Staffing company Insperity spikes on 4Q beat; Avaya plunges on 1Q sales miss

Also in play is a proposed merger between the UK's Smith & Nephew and US-based NuVasive Inc
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Staffing and outsourcing services company Insperity beat the Street's 4Q earnings expectations, sending shares higher

Insperity Inc (NYSE:NSP) saw its stock shoot upward, making it one of Monday's biggest small-cap gainers. The staffing and outsourcing services company out of Kingwood, Texas, beat Wall Street's fourth-quarter earnings expectations. The company reported net income of $24.7 million, or $0.59 per share, up from $15.6 million, or $0.36, while adjusted earnings came in at $0.69, up 25% from a year ago and beating analysts' expectations for EPS of $0.65. Revenue increased 17% to $966.8 million on an increase in the average number of worksite employees, or WSEEs.

Shares surged 15.6% to $128.18 in Monday afternoon trading.

News of a pending merger between NuVasive Inc (NYSE:NUVA) and Smith & Nephew PLC (LSE:SN) (NYSE:SNN) sent NuVasive's stock skyward. A report late by the Financial Times said that the surgical-equipment maker was in discussions to be bought by UK-based Smith & Nephew for approximately US$3 billion, which really got investors' attention. San Diego-based NuVasive makes equipment for spinal surgery and bone implants, while Smith & Nephew produces a wide range of medical equipment and products, as well as orthopedic reconstruction devices. 

NuVasive shares jumped nearly 15% to $56.90 in afternoon trade.

On the opposite end of the spectrum were shares of Avaya Holdings Corp (NYSE: AVYA), which plunged after the company missed first-quarter sales guidance. The enterprise communications specialist was also affected by the recent US government shutdown and its transitioning chief financial officers: Pat O'Malley is stepping down, to be replaced by Kieran McGrath effective Feb. 15. Avaya's revenue in the fiscal first quarter was $738 million, and $748 million on a non-GAAP basis. But the results missed the company's previous guidance of $740 million to $765 million on a GAAP basis and non-GAAP revenue of $750 million to $775 million.
Avaya filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January 2017 and emerged during the first quarter of fiscal 2018.

Shares of Avaya nosedived more than 12% to $15.50.

--Written by Suzette Parmley

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