Course 406: Slow-Growth Stocks
What's the Company Doing with Its Money?
In this course
1 Introduction
2 How Fast Is the Company Growing?
3 How Consistently Is the Company Growing?
4 Does the Company Generate a Dependable Stream of Free Cash Flow?
5 What's the Company Doing with Its Money?
6 What's the Return on Capital?
7 How Has the Stock Performed?
8 Is the Stock Priced Like a Slow Grower?
9 Conclusion: What Do I Get in Return?

You would expect most slow-growing companies, especially those as big as Procter & Gamble, to be returning their free cash flows to shareholders. Unless a firm has explosive growth opportunities--and it's usually a good bet that a slow-growing company has few--the best place to park excess cash is in shareholders' pockets. Indeed, Procter & Gamble does pay out a significant chunk of its earnings as dividends. In 1999, the company paid about $0.40 in dividends for every $1.00 of earnings. Better still, P&G has increased its dividends in each of the past five years, in tandem with its earnings growth. Such dividend staying power is what you hope to see in a slow grower. P&G has also been buying back its own stock, about 1% of it each year since 1996, which is another way to return money to owners.

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