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8 Stock Picks for 2012


The numbers suggest that the economy is growing modestly, but recent stock market volatility indicates that the future is anything but certain. So it's a good time for investors to seek out industry giants that are likely to prosper even in an era of tepid growth.

Rarely have values appeared as tempting. Many big companies have spent the past few years paying off debts, leaving their balance sheets squeaky-clean. Many have also built up treasure troves of cash, which can be used to boost dividends and finance growth. With debt woes slamming Europe, firms that sell mainly in the U.S. and in emerging nations look especially attractive.

For the year ahead, we like these eight large, high-quality companies that pay dividends.

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