NEW YORK (AP) ¿ Investors interested in packaging company stocks should be more cautious as a recent share price rally has eliminated the relative discounts from earlier this year, an analyst said Tuesday.

KeyBanc analyst Christopher D. Manuel said that the packaging sector typically outperforms the broader market in the 12 months following a recession.

Manuel also said that some of that outperformance has already taken place. From the close on Feb. 19 to Monday's close, packaging makers' stocks rose 50 percent compared with a 26 percent increase in the S&P 500, he noted.

"Accordingly, we no longer advocate buying a basket of packaging stocks but take a more selective approach," he said in a client note. "The key takeaway is that (packaging) stocks appear to again be trading on fundamentals and at reasonable levels within historical context."

Within the sector, Manuel's top choices are Crown Holdings Inc., Greif Inc., Owens-Illinois Inc. and Silgan Holdings Inc.

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