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Big stocks: 1 Me: 0

America loves to root for the little guy. Right?

We pull for the George Baileys of the world as they battle with the tight-fisted Mr. Potters.

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We cheer on wrestler-turned-politician Jesse Ventura as he pins Minnesota's big-party politicians to the mat while grabbing a seat in the governor's mansion.

But when it comes to investing, Americans appear to have abandoned Mr. Underdog.

Take a look at the Russell 2000 Index on page 12 which measures stock values of small companies.

It's down for the year, and has yet to recover from the market panic of last summer. Back then, investors pulled money out of big and small companies alike.

Several interest-rate cuts by Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan helped bring many back into the market in the fall, but investors channeled their dollars mainly into high-tech and blue-chip stocks. The little guys were left in the dust.

It's a bit disheartening. Why? Because I always root for the underdog, and ... ahem ... I've plunked a good amount of money into small companies.

So I'm taking my short-term knocks because we at Work & Money believe in investing for the long haul.

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And if you're a little-guy fan like me, you should check out the story to my right about Sylvia Woods.

It takes a woman with a strong faith and family to make some of the moves she did. Not only did she have to face the daily struggles of running her own business, but she had to overcome a number of racial barriers along the way.

Yes, the underdog can win. Ms. Woods is proof of that.

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