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By Thomas Graves Standard & Poor's is raising its opinion on the consumer discretionary sector to "market weight" from "underweight." Although holiday season sales are likely to be weak for many companies in the sector, S&P sees investors placing increased emphasis on the expected benefits of monetary and fiscal stimulus in 2002.

How to play the trend? S&P's recommended investment approaches within the sector include making selections among expected beneficiaries of lower interest rates and discount-oriented shopping.

For example, we recommend Home Depot( HD), ranked 5 STARS (buy) and Clayton Homes (CMH), also ranked 5 STARS.

S&P has a 4 STARS (accumulate) opinion on shares of Wal-Mart (WMT) 4 STARS (accumulate) and Family Dollar (FDO). Graves is an equity analyst for Standard & Poor's


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