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OPINION

You know you’re in a recession when…

On September 29 the Dow Jones Industrial Average experienced its most severe one-day decline in history. Of the S&P index’s 500 names, just one enjoyed a share price rise:

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Campbell Soup, which gained 12 cents on the day. Commentators mused that the reason Campbell was able to buck the trend was that investors thought people would be turning to comfort food as an escape from the world’s financial woes. Canned soup also keeps well, for anyone planning to retreat from the world until the turmoil blows over.

Many investors have their own ideas on the stocks that can be expected to perform well in lean times but traditionally there are a few that can be relied upon. Cosmetics, entertainment and medical services will never be seen as superfluous, so Pfizer (up 79 cents on September 29) and Marvel Entertainment (up 27% since the beginning of the year) can be expected to hold up well. Other recession winners include energy, security and guns. So you’d imagine the US government should see increasing investor interest.