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6 Great Stock Picks for an Aging Bull Market

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As any bull market hangs on, it gets harder to find bargains. So if you’re looking to put money to work, it’s a good time to be cautious: You want stocks that have a decent shot at moving higher in the near term but that can also avoid a severe drop when the market inevitably suffers a correction (decline of 10% to 20%) or worse. And, of course, you want to invest in businesses that are financially sound and have healthy long-term prospects.

We picked six big companies that we believe are reasonably priced relative to their profits. Five carry price-earnings ratios (based on estimated year-ahead profits) that are at or below the P/E of Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index, currently 17. Just as important, all six are leaders in their industries, and all are strongly committed to returning capital to shareholders by paying dividends, buying back shares or both.

Picks are listed in order of their market capitalization. Prices and related figures are as of March 31. Revenue is based on the past 12 months. EPS is based on estimated earnings for the 2015 calendar year. Sources: Thomson Reuters, Yahoo.

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