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By Simon Avery

The respected Kiplinger financial franchise, best known for publishing The Kiplinger Letter and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine, has fingered eight must-have U.S. stocks for 2012.

Some of the selections show up repeatedly on portfolio managers’ lists: Microsoft (MSFT), Apple (AAPL) and Chevron (CVX). Some are much less well-known to a general audience: Schnitzer Steel Industries (SCHN), Dover (DOV) and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (TEVA). And one may rattle some conscientious investors’ principles: Lockheed Martin (LMT).

Regardless, contributing editor Kathy Kristof thinks that these industry giants are likely to prosper in a weak economy.

The future may not be as bright for Apple without Steve Jobs, but the company is still growing rapidly and carries a low valuation. CEO Tim Cook is more open to the idea of dividends than Jobs was, meaning Apple may soon start returning some of its cash hoard to shareholders.

Dover boasts technology that is used in smartphones, appliances and oil extraction. Ms. Kristof says the conglomerate has been integrating related businesses and cutting costs and deserves more investor attention.

Schnitzer Steel is growing earnings at a 15 per cent clip by selling recycled scrap to businesses in Asia.

Lockheed has been beaten down by concerns over defence cuts. The stock now yields more than 5 per cent and the company is buying back millions of dollars worth of shares.

Target (TGT), which is soon to open stores in Canada, has started selling groceries and launched a customer loyalty program in the U.S. Like others on the list, the valuation appears too good to ignore.

Teva Pharmaceutical is a generic-drug giant based in Israel but generates half its sales in the U.S. Ms. Kristof says the company has a cash hoard that is likely to be used to boost dividends.

Disclosure: none

Source: Kiplinger's 8 Must-Have Stocks For 2012