There's a great deal to be said for blue-chip consumer staples stocks with solid balance sheets and a reliable stream of dividends. After all, even in a downturn consumers need things like toothpaste, bleach, trash bags, cereals and snacks.

That gives Colgate-Palmolive (CL), Clorox (CLX) and Kellogg (K) some nice defensive characteristics, but second-quarter results have thus far suggested that the sector is struggling to grow revenue in the face of deflationary forces.

Recent weakness might just make these stocks compellingly valued, especially in light of their generous dividends. On the other hand, these shares could be poised to stagnate -- or worse -- after outperforming the broader market for the better part of a year.

For more on the bull and bear cases on Colgate, Clorox and Kellogg, see the video below:

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