US SMALL/MIDCAPS-Stocks flat after M&A action

NEW YORK, April 26 Mon Apr 26, 2010 2:45pm EDT

NEW YORK, April 26 (Reuters) - Midcap and smallcap stocks were little changed on Monday, as investors cheered some M&A deals but were cautious about others such as a $1.6 billion acquisition by Charles River Laboratories Inc (CRL.N).

Midcap clinical research company Charles River plunged 13.6 percent to $34.36 after it agreed to buy Chinese rival WuXi PharmaTech (WX.N) for $21.25 per American Depositary Share in cash and stock in part to increase its presence in China. There were concerns about the U.S. company's ability to carry out such a big deal. For details, see [ID:nSGE63P04G]

WuXi PharmaTech shares surged $17.4 percent to $19.46.

Fellow midcap Equinix Inc (EQIX.O) jumped 6.9 percent to $102.30 after Switch and Data Facilities Co Inc SDXC.O said it was notified the U.S. Department of Justice had closed its investigation into the merger between the two, which is now expected to close on April 30. [ID:nWNAB1585]

"A lot of these companies are still carrying abnormal levels of cash, combined with reasonable balance sheets and the current state of affairs of interest rates, you just have a great environment for M&A," said Robert Maltbie, managing director at Singular Research in Calabasas, California.

"And it's just going to keep continuing, strategic-wise."

Both the S&P MidCap 400 index .MID and the S&P SmallCap 600 index .SML shed 0.1 percent. The benchmark S&P 500 .SPX also dipped 0.1 percent.

Smallcap PrivateBancorp Inc (PVTB.O) plummeted 15.1 percent to $14.50, after the Chicago-based lender reported a wider-than-expected loss in the first quarter, as worsening commercial real estate loans forced the company to quadruple its provisioning. [ID:nSGE63P0N3]

But United Fire & Casualty Co (UFCS.O) climbed 16 percent to $22.62 after posting first-quarter earnings that topped market expectations. [ID:nWNAB1793]

(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Andrew Hay)

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