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Consumer Stocks Still Worth Buying
S&P's Thomas Graves has plenty of consumer-discretionary stocks on his buy list.

Gasoline prices are up, and interest rates are set to rise as well, but consumers and their spending habits should not be dramatically affected, even though the momentum may slow. That's the view of Thomas Graves, group head of the Standard & Poor's analysts covering consumer-discretionary stocks -- and he still sees attractive names in that sector, which he suggests investors overweight now.

Of the more than 200 stocks followed by the S&P analysts in the group, some 21 currently carry a buy rating. The sector, however, is down somewhat from its 2003 zest because of those energy and interest rate concerns.

Q: What about the discounters?
A: Among the discounters our favorite stock is BJ's Wholesale Club (BJ ), which reported quarterly earnings today. The earnings were in line with our estimate, and we have a 12-month target price for the stock of $30.
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