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S&P 500 scorecard today: 1 up, 499 down

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Let’s hope this isn’t telling us that the next bull market will be in soup kitchens.

The only stock to rise in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index today was . . . Campbell Soup Co., which edged up 12 cents to $37.75.

On days like this investors often find refuge in stocks of companies that make the basic, low-priced things we need to live. The reasoning is that even if the markets are melting down, and the economy will soon follow, we all still gotta eat, drink and (hopefully) use deodorant.

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Personal-care products giant Procter & Gamble slid $2.09, or 3%, to $66.75, but that was far less painful than the 8.8% drop in the S&P 500 index overall.

The so-called consumer-staples sector of the S&P index held up best today, with a 4.2% decline. The S&P’s worst-performing sector: financial stocks, which plunged 16%. That left the financials down 39% year to date, compared with a 24.6% drop for the S&P 500 and a modest 7.2% loss for the consumer-staples group.

Another place you could have found refuge today, relatively speaking: shares of Hormel Foods Corp., which slipped just 13 cents to $36.25.

Hormel’s most famous product: Spam.

The perfect complement to soup?


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