Last week on the Rule Breaker Investing podcast, Motley Fool co-founder David Gardner reviewed the performance of two sets of his buy-and-hold stock picks: one set with a five-year horizon, and one that he recommended we hold for a year. This week, he offers up a new handful of recommendations, and the theme that came to his mind was Motley Fool Explorer, which is one of the premium services that competitively cherry-picks stocks from the Supernova universe.
So David is offering five hidden gems from the 210 Foolish holdings -- long-term market beaters that have never been part of a Real Money mission that have market caps below $10 billion and brand names most people won't recognize. And he thinks you should hold them for the next three years or more. Next up, Littelfuse (NASDAQ: LFUS), a global leader in circuit-protection devices.
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A full transcript follows the video.
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This video was recorded on Sept. 13, 2017.
David Gardner: "Hidden Gem" No. 4: Stock No. 4 as we climb up the alphabet. And for this next one, well, if you'd heard of NuVasive, good for you. I think you're in the minority. I would describe you as in the extreme minority if you've heard of this "L" company. The ticker symbol is LFUS. The name of this company is Littelfuse. L-I-T-T-E-L-F-U-S-E. The market cap for Littelfuse is $4 billion, so it's actually larger than NuVasive, which I just described, but smaller than Orbital ATK and Ultimate Software that are at $6 billion.
This company is, again, $4 billion. Chicago, Ill., based. Littelfuse has a risk rating of nine, so a pretty reasonable, safer, smaller company. Why are they a safer, smaller company? Well, they're the worldwide leader in circuit protection. And this is not something that you necessarily pound your chest about or get on the cover of Fortune magazine for being but, yes, electronic switches as well as automotive sensors. Basically they have a ton of components.
One of the things that I like about this company is its history. It was started in 1927, so it's 90 years old. I really love companies that have been around for multiple generations. By the way, a little bit about this company's history. Edward Sundt founded Littelfuse in 1927. He'd worked for GE, among others, and he found that the diagnostic equipment that he was working with would frequently experience electrical failure, so he thought, "You know what? We should be able to protect these circuits." Protect electricity, which is moving through increasing numbers of devices, not just in that era but these days, as well.
So circuit protection is 90 years later what Littelfuse leads the world in. Their tag line: "Expertise Applied, Answers Delivered." It sounds pretty solid. I don't think they spent too much on any kind of branding or marketing campaign to come up with that in the first place. I like it. It's kind of Middle West, right down the middle. "Expertise Applied, Answers Delivered." Dependable. I like it.
The stock I picked March 2014 at just under $93 a share. Today it's at $186. In fact, we can ring the double gong this week. I'm really happy to say that as of this week Littelfuse is up 100.7% so it's become a double for Motley Fool Stock Advisor members who patiently bought and held this company just for three years. The market over the same time up 44%, so this is a smoking hot market beater up 57% over the market averages.
And what are one or two traits that I should mention in passing before we get to our final stock this week? Well, how about just how boring this company is. Peter Lynch -- those who read his books or are familiar with Peter Lynch's work One Up on Wall Street -- loved really boring companies. This is a great Lynchian, boring company. Most people have never heard of it.
Another thing I love about it is that they have tons of different products. We're not just talking about one big biotech drug, here, or a new restaurant concept that needs to hit in order for these guys to succeed. Part of becoming the worldwide leader in circuit protection is that you have lots of different types of protection for lots of different circuits.
So another company like LKQ, for those familiar with it in the automotive space. I love companies that have lots of different products to sell. That's just, itself, a competitive advantage. If you try to compete with them in any kind of broad way, you'd also have to develop a ton of different widgets and gewgaws in order to compete with them, and I love those kinds of companies. That's something to appreciate about Littelfuse in addition to its illustrious, and long, and somewhat boring history.