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‘Women’ stocks are best bets as spending returns, BofA says

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Investors should consider a "long -women" investment plan that focuses on female-oriented apparel, cosmetic and consumer-finance stocks, as women become bigger spenders, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Women will recover faster from the recession, as the female unemployment rate at 8.9 percent is almost two percentage points below the male rate, and women are "best positioned" in job growth areas such as health care, according to a recent note from David Bianco, chief U.S. equity strategist at the Charlotte, N.C.-based firm. One of the fastest-growing demographic groups is women in their 30s, he said.

"While women already control a majority of household spending on items such as apparel and accessories, we think stronger purchasing power relative to men additionally bodes well for spending on categories such as vacations, cosmetic procedures, or home furnishings," Bianco wrote. "Single working females should also spend more on themselves, especially as many wait longer to marry."

There are 26 companies that fit the "long women" theme, he said.

FOLLOW THE WOMEN

The 26 "long-women" stocks recommended by Bank of America Merrill Lynch strategist David Bianco:
» Allergan Inc. (AGN)
» Medicis Pharmaceutical Corp. (MRX)
» AptarGroup Inc. (ATR)
» MeadWestvaco Corp. (MWV)
» American Express Co. (AXP)
» Constellation Brands Inc. (STZ)
» Liberty Media Corp.’s Interactive Series A (LINTA)
» Walt Disney Co. (DIS)
» Estee Lauder Cos. (EL)
» AnnTaylor Stores Corp. (ANN)
» Express Inc. (EXPR)
» Coach Inc. (COH)
» Tiffany & Co. (TIF)
» Urban Outfitters Inc. (URBN)
» Gap Inc. (GPS)
» Chico’s FAS Inc. (CHS)
» Lululemon Athletica Inc. (LULU)
» Limited Brands Inc. (LTD)
» J.C. Penney Co. (JCP)
» Macy’s Inc. (M)
» Kohl’s Corp. (KSS)
» Nordstrom Inc. (JWN)
» Saks Inc. (SKS)
» Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (BBBY)
» Williams-Sonoma Inc. (WSM)
» Pier 1 Imports Inc. (PIR)

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