Among all of the investing legends, you will find no day traders and penny stock buyers. A buy-and-hold strategy of picking good businesses has proven time and again to be the surest way to investing success.
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Three Motley Fool investors have selected Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-A)(NYSE: BRK-B), McDonald's (NYSE: MCD), and Clorox (NYSE: CLX) as three stocks investors can buy today and hold on to for the next 75 years and come out with a market-beating return at the end.
Many stocks in one
Keith Speights (Berkshire Hathaway): The truth is that it's hard to pick a single stock that you can count on performing well for a period as long as 75 years. Companies that seem to be rock solid can go by the wayside as a result of changing technology. Because of this, I like Berkshire Hathaway as a stock to buy and hold for decades. With Berkshire, you don't just get one stock -- you get dozens of stocks.
The reason why, of course, is that Warren Buffett turned a sleep textile company known as Berkshire Hathaway into an investment company years ago. Buying shares of Berkshire give investors exposure to consumer products, energy, financial services, healthcare, industrial, media, retail, technology, and transportation stocks. As the global economy changes, Berkshire's investment portfolio will change with it.
Buffett and Berkshire have achieved compounded annual gains of nearly 21% annually -- for over 50 years. During that period, the S&P 500 notched a compounded annual growth rate of less than half that. Granted, Berkshire's advantage over the broader market has declined in recent years. Nonetheless, it's an impressive track record.
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Some might question whether Berkshire Hathaway can deliver market-beating returns in the future. After all, Warren Buffett is no spring chicken. Could new leadership at Berkshire in the future make the stock less desirable? I doubt it. Buffett has been delegating some investing picks for years to a smart team that he handpicked. The Buffett way of thinking should remain at the core of Berkshire for a long time to come -- and that's good news for investors.
Stick with the winners
Demitri Kalogeropoulos (McDonald's): The number of things I can specifically predict about the next 75 years rounds down to approximately zero. However, I do feel confident about this forecast: A business with a dominant market position -- one that's built on delivering unbeatable value to customers -- is likely to do well over the long term.
You can't get much more dominant than McDonald's, which processes a whopping 7% of the $1 trillion that people around the world spend each year eating out at fast and fast-casual restaurants. Sure, the chain has endured a rough patch lately, with customer traffic declining in each of the last two fiscal years. But it is demonstrating how the business can (eventually) respond to rapidly shifting consumer tastes. Mickey D's last quarter posted a healthy uptick in traffic that powered its best overall sales growth in years.
I'm impressed that the company is attacking the food delivery market, too, given that it worked so hard to establish the profitable drive-thru business model. That willingness to reinvent itself should prove valuable in the decades ahead. Over the shorter term, investors can look forward to a sharp increase in profitability as McDonald's shifts toward an almost exclusively franchised business model by 2019.
A bright and shiny future
Rich Duprey (Clorox): Dystopian movies like to portray the future as gritty and dirty, but Clorox would likely beg to differ. Although best known for its namesake bleach, Clorox also owns a bevy of other cleaning products brands including Pine-Sol, Formula 409, and Tilex. Cleaning products generate the most revenue for Clorox, some 34% of the total, with home care products like Pine-Sol accounting for almost one-fifth of the $6 billion total.
Fortunately, it also has numerous other household brands under its umbrella, including Glad, Kingsford, Hidden Valley, Burt's Bees, and more.
With such powerhouse brands like this, Clorox will continue to be a rock-solid investment for decades to come, just as it has for the past 100 years. But because it is now a global leader, it will occasionally run into trouble, such as it has in Venezuela, where the country's strongman forced the company to sell product at below-market prices and then seized control of its assets. Its exit from Venezuela cost it over $90 million in pre-tax losses. But that's a case of where the exception proves the rule, and international markets represent 17% of Clorox's revenues.
Over the past 20 years, the household products company has delivered to shareholders total returns of 567% compared to just 298% for the S&P 500. Looking 75 years out into the future, Clorox, with a dividend of $3.36 that currently yields 3.6%, appears to be likely to continue cleaning up over the broad market indexes.
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Demitrios Kalogeropoulos owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway (B shares) and McDonald's. Keith Speights has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Rich Duprey has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Berkshire Hathaway (B shares). The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.