Amid panic, Campbell holders sing "Mmmm, mmmm good"

NEW YORK Mon Sep 29, 2008 7:26pm EDT

NEW YORK (Reuters) - As panic gripped the stock market on Monday, just one member of the S&P 500 Index escaped the sell-off: Campbell Soup.

Are investors betting that when times get scary, consumers will stock up on food that is cheap and easy to store? Wouldn't be the first time.

In the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, attacks, Campbell Soup experienced an unexpected jump in sales and earnings as consumers' fear of another attack led many to hunker down. From the day before the attacks to early November 2001, Campbell shares gained 10 percent. The S&P 500 added just 2.4 percent over the same period.

On Monday, Wall Street plunged, with the Dow posting its biggest one-day point drop ever, after U.S. lawmakers unexpectedly rejected a $700 billion financial bailout, spooking investors who saw it as essential to halting a global market meltdown.

Campbell Soup's stock rose 0.3 percent, or 12 cents, to close at $37.75 on the New York Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Kristina Cooke; Editing by Jan Paschal)

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