US SMALL/MIDCAPS-Stocks decline as Avnet, others warn on results

By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK, Oct 10 (Reuters) - Small and midcapitalizationstocks slipped on Wednesday, dragged down by the latest warningsfrom companies including Avnet Inc as U.S. third-quarterearnings reports got under way.

Avnet, an electric parts distributor, forecast itsfirst-quarter revenue at the lower end of its prior forecast ascustomers delayed spending. Its shares were down 4.3 percent at$27.35 while shares of rival Arrow Electronics were down3.7 percent at $32.42.

Among others issuing disappointing forecasts, consumerproducts maker Helen of Troy Ltd cut its full-year 2013profit view for the second time this year. The company alsoreported lower-than-expected third-quarter profit.

Its shares dropped 11 percent to $28.45.

The high number of companies issuing negative outlooks inrecent months -- with the negative-to-positive ratio forguidance from Standard & Poor's 500 companies at it worst since2001 -- has kept investors anxious that third-quarter resultshave been hurt by slow economic growth in Europe and China.

The reporting period began with results from Dow componentAlcoa after Tuesday's stock market close.

Alcoa reported a third-quarter profit before one-timecharges that beat Wall Street's expectations, but Chairman andChief Executive Officer Klaus Kleinfeld said the company hadnoticed a "slight slowdown" in some regions and markets. Alcoaalso lowered its global aluminum consumption outlook to 6percent growth from 7 percent previously for 2012.

"There are concerns out there about what growth is going tobe," said Edward Hemmelgarn, founder, president and chiefinvestment officer of Shaker Investments in Cleveland.

"Some of the areas that have really been hit hard over thelast two, three weeks have been cyclical areas likesemiconductors. They've really pounded some of those names downa lot, to the point where these are pretty cheap stocks."

The S&P midcap technology index ., down 1.2 percent,was among the weakest. The index is down 9 percent sincemid-September.

The S&P MidCap 400 index fell 0.5 percent while theS&P SmallCap 600 index slipped 0.2 percent. Incomparison, the benchmark S&P 500 was down 0.6 percent.

(Reporting By Caroline Valetkevitch; Editing by Kenneth Barry)

((caroline.valetkevitch@thomsonreuters.com)(+1 646 2236393)(Reuters Messaging:caroline.valetkevitch@thomsonreuters@reuters.net))