* Mid cap stocks on track for record winning streak
* Trucking shares power ahead
* Credit Suisse upgrades Warnaco Group
* S&P MidCap 400 up 0.2 pct, S&P SmallCap 600 up 0.5 pct
By Edward Krudy
NEW YORK, March 9 Mid cap and small cap stocks
rose on Tuesday, with mid-sized shares set for their best run
in more than three years, as investors continue to bet on an
Mid caps were set for 10 days of gains, their best run
since January 2007, while small caps were on track for their
seventh day of increases. Both indexes have risen for 17 of the
last 20 days and are at their highest levels in more than 17
Shares in U.S. trucking firms outperformed the wider
market. Old Dominion Freight Line Inc (ODFL.O) and Con-Way Inc
CNW.N, both highly leveraged to the U.S. economy, rose
between 5 and 6 percent.
The Dow Jones U.S. trucking index .DJUSTK rose 2
"It (trucking) is as pure U.S. economic activity as you can
get," said Kent Croft, chief investment officer at Croft Funds
in Baltimore. "Mid caps have been as strong as any ... because
they are more leveraged to an economic recovery (than large
The S&P MidCap 400 index .MID rose 0.2 percent while the
S&P SmallCap 600 index .SML advanced 0.5 percent. In
comparison, the benchmark S&P 500 .SPX gained 0.3 percent.
Stocks in smaller companies can do better in the early
stages of a recovery because they generally fall further in a
recession. They are also seen as a way to exploit local growth,
given their greater exposure to the domestic economy.
Since the beginning of the year the MidCap 400 index is up
6.7 percent, the Small Cap 600 has gained 7.2 percent, while
the large cap S&P 500 is up only 2.7.
Citigroup said small and mid-cap leadership is set to
continue in the near term as access to credit increases and
corporate earnings improve.
"We continue to think that small and mid cap performance
will be better than large in 2010 and are not looking for a
shift out of this trade until later in the year," said
Citigroup analyst Lori Calvasina in a note to clients.
Positive broker comments and earnings reports also helped
put the wind in the sales of smaller companies.
Credit Suisse raised Warnaco Group Inc WRC.N to
"outperform" from "neutral," citing rebounding global growth at
its key business -- Calvin Klein -- and a potential tie-up with
Phillips-Van Heusen (PVH.N). Warnaco's stock rose 2.8 percent
Robert W. Baird upgraded Cerus Corp (CERS.O), a blood
safety products maker, to "outperform" from "neutral," and said
the market is undervaluing the company's Intercept red blood
cell system. The shares rose 12.3 percent to $2.65.
Systemax Inc (SYX.N) rose 16.8 percent to $20.65, a day
after the company reported better-than-expected results,
including all-time record sales. Systemax, a direct marketer of
brand name and private-label products, posted earnings of 49
cents per share in the fourth quarter.
(Editing by Padraic Cassidy)