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In a slow-growth company, dividends are key for an investor. Otherwise, modest growth (2%-3%) may not even be enough to cover the cost of inflation. In other words, if an investment doesn't return more than inflation, your dollar today is worth more than your "invested" dollar tomorrow - to put it practically, you'd be better off spending your money buying the things you would need next year (e.g. the new car, buying food in bulk) than investing the money in an investment that returns less than inflation.

So, what makes slow-growth companies worth it?

Three things - a long-term investment because you can take advantage of compounding returns, hedging more-risky higher-return stocks in a portfolio, or strong dividends. Because of their relative stability, investing in these types of stocks makes sense for income-oriented investors. Dividends are key here and because you need the dividends to be just as consistent as the returns for a modest-return play to work. As such, you want to look for high dividends, a low payout ratio, a low PEG, a low debt-to equity-ratio and a decent market cap.

Here is a list of eight stocks that meet those parameters.

Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) is an application software company with a $237.64 billion market cap. It develops, licenses and supports a wide range of software, including the Windows operating systems, the popular MS Office and MS Silverlight. It has a PEG of 0.98 and pays a 2.83% dividend yield on a 24.37% payout ratio. The company's EPS is expected to grow 10.48% over the next five years. MSFT has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.20 and recently traded at $28.25 a share. Boykin Curry's Eagle Capital Management is a fan of MSFT.

BlackRock, Inc. (NYSE:BLK) is an asset management company with a $33.38 billion market cap. The company provides its services to institutional, intermediary and individual investors alike. It has a PEG of 0.87 and pays a 2.95% dividend yield on a 28.64% payout ratio. The company's EPS is expected to grow 16.96% over the next five years. BLK has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.26 and recently traded at $186.57 a share. Bill Miller's Legg Mason Capital Management likes BLK.

CME Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:CME) is a national investment brokerage company with a $15.57 billion market cap. CME operates the CME, CBOT, NYMEX, and COMEX regulatory exchanges worldwide. It has a PEG of 0.96 and pays a 2.39% dividend yield on a 28.22% payout ratio. The company's EPS is expected to grow 12.89% over the next five years. CME has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.10 and recently traded at $234.50 a share. CME is a favorite of Ken Griffin's Citadel Investment Group.

Staples, Inc. (NASDAQ:SPLS) is an office products company with a $10.41 billion market cap. SPLS sells various office supplies, business machines and related products, computers and related products, and office furniture. The company also provides a variety of business services. It has a PEG of 0.91 and pays a 2.69% dividend yield on a 28.03% payout ratio. The company's EPS is expected to grow 11.95% over the next five years. SPLS has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.28 and recently traded at $14.89 a share. David E. Shaw's D E Shaw likes SPLS.

Principal Financial Group, Inc. (NYSE:PFG) is an asset management company with a $7.96 billion market cap. PFG provides retirement savings, investment, and insurance products and services worldwide. It has a PEG of 0.99 and pays a 2.68% dividend yield on a 24.56% payout ratio. The company's EPS is expected to grow 11.87% over the next five years. PFG has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.16 and recently traded at $26.10 a share. Ken Griffin's Citadel Investment Group is a fan of PFG.

Sims Metal Management Limited (SMS) is a metal recycling company with a $2.86 billion market cap. The company engages in ferrous secondary recycling, non-ferrous secondary recycling, secondary processing, and recycling solutions businesses. It has a PEG of 0.99 and pays a 3.50% dividend yield on a 37.43% payout ratio. The company's EPS is expected to grow 14.70% over the next five years. SMS has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.10 and recently traded at $13.86 a share. SMS is a top pick for Chuck Royce's Royce & Associates.

RPC, Inc. (NYSE:RES) is an oil and gas equipment and services company with a $2.72 billion market cap. Specifically, RES provides a range of oilfield services and equipment primarily to independent oil and gas companies engaged in the exploration, production, and development of oil and gas properties around the world. It has a PEG of 0.41 and pays a 2.18% dividend yield on a 14.20% payout ratio. The company's EPS is expected to grow 23.50% over the next five years. RES has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.20 and recently traded at $18.36 a share. Chuck Royce's Royce & Associates likes RES.

AVX Corp. (NYSE:AVX) is a diversified electronics company with a $2.22 billion market cap. AVX manufactures and supplies passive electronic components and interconnect products in the Americas, Europe and Asia. It has a PEG of 0.73 and pays a 2.29% dividend yield on a 14.06% payout ratio. The company's EPS is expected to grow 12.00% over the next five years. AVX has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.00 and recently traded at $13.08 a share. Chuck Royce's Royce & Associates is a big fan of AVX.

Source: 8 Excellent Slow-Growth Stocks