Baby stocks may grow up fast for Bespoke-Barron's

NEW YORK Sun Aug 3, 2008 1:43pm EDT

NEW YORK Aug 3 (Reuters) - Newborn stock index Bespoke Investment Group is tracking stocks for companies that cater to parents of newborns, a market that could prove a growth spurt for some investors because of a recent mini-baby boom, Barron's reported on Sunday.

The group includes infant-formula companies Synutra (SYUT.O) and Martek Bioscience MATK.O, clothiers like Carters (CRI.N) and the Children's Place Retail Stores (PLCE.O), educational toy company LeapFrog (LF.N), diagnostic and testing concern Natus Medical (BABY.O) and diaper company Kimberly-Clark (KMB.N).

A new government report says the number of babies born in the United States reached 4.315 million last year, matching highs seen in 1957, the baby boom's peak, Barron's reported.

That could lead to a bonanza for investors, Bespoke founder Paul Hickey told Barron's. "Even during periods of economic weakness, parents tend not to skimp on their kids, especially when it comes to health, clothing and education," he said.

(Reporting by Robert MacMillan, editing by Martin Golan)