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BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- My love for food stocks is not unrequited. Lance (LNCE - Get Report), Cott (COT - Get Report), J&J Snack Foods (JJSF - Get Report), J.M. Smucker (SJM) and TreeHouse Foods (THS - Get Report) -- companies I've highlighted in our "Under the Radar" series -- have jumped more than 19% since mid-June, outperforming the 17% gain of the S&P 500 Index.
Our quantitative model deemed these stocks undervalued at the time, but investors have since bid them up to excessive prices. TreeHouse, Lance and J&J Snack are trading at sizable premiums to the market.
Many investors are bracing for a market correction after stocks hit their highest levels in almost a year on Wednesday. Food stocks are usually considered steady bets because of their low volatility and resistance to economic swings. But when safe plays jump this much in a short period, it makes you question how safe they truly are.I decided to review companies I've profiled in "Under the Radar." Since the series began in May, my picks have risen 9% on average. Sixty four of the 91 stocks I've recommended, or 70%, have gained value. Of the decliners, the average drop is 4%. Top performers include Ebix (EBIX - Get Report), NVE (NVEC - Get Report), Broadpoint Gleacher Securities Group (BPSG), Marvel Entertainment (MVL) and Knight Capital Group (NITE). Each climbed more than 30% since they appeared in "Under the Radar." In total, 37% of my picks have posted a double-digit gain, with 19% rising 20% or more. Individual investors watched their portfolios lose more than a third of their value last year as the recession took hold. It's great that so many have been able to recover some of their losses, but a sense of entitlement to further appreciation is dangerous.