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This investment strategy is just too weird to pass up: David Bianco, head of U.S. equity strategy at Merrill Lynch, argues that investors should "go long" women.

I'll let Mr. Bianco explain: "One of the most notable trends during the recent recession is the large increase in the gap between male and female unemployment rates. Roughly half of the employment decline in 2008-09 was due to job losses in the male-oriented sectors of manufacturing and construction, which now account for less than 10 per cent of private sector job openings. Women are best-positioned to fill the jobs that the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts will see the largest job growth over the next eight years – such as nurses and home health aides – and are earning more Bachelor's degrees than men. And while the gender wage gap remains, it is becoming smaller."

In other words, women are better educated, getting more jobs and getting better paid, all of which should translate into money-making opportunities for investors.

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He outlined five areas that could benefit from this theme: Apparel retailers that target high-end female consumers, cosmetics companies, packaging companies serving cosmetics markets, consumer finance companies offering travel features and "specialty pharma companies that make facial and breast aesthetics" (I warned you this strategy was weird).

As for specific stocks, here are a few names that came up: Medicis Pharmaceutical Corp. , AptarGroup Inc. , American Express Co. , Estee Lauder Cos. , Ann Taylor Stores Corp. , Tiffany & Co. and Macy's Inc.

No word yet on whether he's also working on a "go short" men strategy.

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About the Author
Investing Reporter

David Berman has been writing about business and investing since 1995. He has written for a number of magazines, including Canadian Business and MoneySense. He worked at the Financial Post as an investing writer and daily columnist before moving to the Globe and Mail in 2008. More

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