It was a topsy-turvy first half for food stocks. After outperforming the general market for four years, many food stocks took a nosedive during the first six months of 1999, significantly underperforming the market. The 38 stocks in the SN Composite Index -- which includes retailers, wholesalers and mass merchandisers -- rose just 6.9% during the half, compared with gains of 19.4% for stocks in the Dow Jones Index and 11.8% for those in the Standard & Poor's 500. In contrast, the first ...

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