Small-cap stocks-Small-cap consumer stocks seen lagging mkt


NEW YORK, June 24 (Reuters) - Merrill Lynch on Monday said it has downgraded the small-capitalization consumer cyclical sector to "underweight" from "neutral," citing the sharp pickup in earnings expectations and rising valuations. "Even in the face of a recessionary economic backdrop, rising unemployment rates, negative equity returns and America's entry into a war on terrorism, the consumer has remained resilient," said Satya Pradhuman, Merrill Lynch's chief small-cap strategist. But ...

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