US SMALL/MIDCAPS-Consumer stocks in "Black Friday" bounce

By Edward Krudy

NEW YORK, Nov 26 (BestGrowthStock) – Mid- and small-cap consumer
stocks rose in a weak market on Friday as holiday spending
season kicked off and investors hoped consumers would carry on
emptying their wallets through the end of the year.

Anecdotal evidence showed shoppers flocked to “Black
Friday” sales, so called because they mark the start of the
season when U.S. retailers turn a profit, or go into the black
for the year. Fewer discounts than last year were set to boost
margins.

Gains in consumer focused companies were a sign of
investors’ bullish view of the U.S. consumer after a string of
stronger jobs, sentiment and spending data even as the wider
market continues to fret about Europe’s debt crisis.

Advertising, consumer finance, and home entertainment
companies gained. The S&P small cap consumer finance index
(.6CONF: ) rose 1.7 percent, driven by EZCORP Inc (EZPW.O: ), up
3.8 percent to $25.90 and First Cash Financial Services
(FCFS.O: ), up 1 percent to $29.05.

Gary Bradshaw, portfolio manager at Hodges Capital
Management in Dallas said he expects retail stocks to carry on
outperforming into the end of the year.

“The consumer is more confident and they are spending a bit
more money and I think retail as a whole is perking up,” he
said. “They look relatively cheap to us and I think sales are
going to surprise to the upside.”

Midcap restaurants were higher. The sector index (.MREST: )
climbed 1.2 percent, helped by Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc
(CMG.N: ), up 2.3 percent to $256.05, and Panera Bread Co
(PNRA.O: ), up 0.9 percent to $100.25.

Despite the pockets of gains the wider market was lower,
consumed by worries over Europe’s ongoing debt crisis.

The S&P MidCap 400 index (.MID: ) fell 0.5 percent while the
S&P SmallCap 600 index (.SML: ) fell 0.7 percent. In comparison,
the benchmark S&P 500 (.SPX: ) dropped 0.8 percent.

US SMALL/MIDCAPS-Consumer stocks in "Black Friday" bounce