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Small-Caps Reveal Real State of Economy

BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- The largest U.S. companies, including JPMorgan (JPM - Get Report) and Intel (INTC - Get Report), are projecting better days ahead, beating analysts' expectations and helping to drive the Dow past 10,000 points for the first time in year.

But small companies, which constitute a majority of the stock market and the economy, are still suffering, suggesting investors ought to temper their bullishness after the Dow surged more than 50% since March. The following are three lesser-known companies whose profits have been decimated by weak demand. As such, they represent a real portrait of corporate America. Each reported after the close of stock-market trading yesterday.

Jacksonville, Florida-based Landstar System (LSTR - Get Report) is a transportation and logistics company. Third-quarter net income dropped 39% to $20 million and earnings per share fell 37% to 39 cents. Revenue descended 32% to $501 million.

Landstar posted a quarterly operating margin of 6.5% and a net margin of 4%. Chief Executive Officer Henry Gerkens noted that Landstar's revenue "continued to be negatively impacted by the recession in the domestic and global economies." A point of optimism: The number of loads hauled fell 11%, compared with a 16% drop in the second quarter.

Landstar's stock slumped as much as 3.3% today, putting the company in negative territory for 2009.

Stanley Furniture (STLY - Get Report) fared worse. The Virginia-based company manufactures and sells wood furniture in the upper price range. Its third-quarter net loss widened 45% to $5.1 million, or $1.01 a share, as revenue fell 29% to $38 million. The company endured a gross, operating and net loss.
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INTC $30.15 -1.50%
JPM $61.94 -2.90%
LSTR $65.02 -1.40%
SPTN $27.09 -3.70%
STLY $2.59 0.78%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,699.58 -191.58 -1.07%
S&P 500 2,057.44 -23.99 -1.15%
NASDAQ 4,757.3970 -60.1970 -1.25%

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