Are there male and female stocks?

Posted by: Ben Steverman on May 8, 2008

BusinessWeek colleague Peter Coy has a great story out today noting that the economic slowdown is hitting men harder than women.

He points to a surprising statistic: Adult women have gained nearly 300,000 jobs since November, while men have lost 700,000 jobs.

“You might even say American men are in recession, and American women are not,” he writes. “What’s going on? Simply put, men have the misfortune of being concentrated in the two sectors that are doing the worst: manufacturing and construction. Women are concentrated in sectors that are still growing, such as education and health care.”

So is there an investing angle here? Stereotypes can be simplistic and silly, but how valuable are they when picking stocks?
Maybe we should be shorting companies with lots of male customers, like Smith & Wesson (SWHC) or Cabela’s (CAB). Meanwhile, we might buy shares of Avon Products (AVP), Estee Lauder (EL) and Ann Taylor Stores (ANN).

Has anyone spotted any evidence this is actually true — that economic gender disparities are hurting or helping particular companies?

The problem, as Coy points out, is that many men and women share household finances. A woman whose husband has just been laid off is likely to forego a new top at Ann Taylor Loft. Plus, pain could soon spread from male-dominated industries to the rest of the economy.

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About

Bloomberg Businessweek’s Ben Steverman focuses on the latest moves in financial markets and emerging trends in stocks, bonds, and funds, always with an eye toward giving readers a better understanding of the sometimes confusing and often chaotic world of money. Standard & Poor’s senior index analyst Howard Silverblatt will also provide his take on companies’ finances and the markets. Voted one of the “Top 100 Finance Blogs” in 2007.

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