Who's got time to sit and fret over our portfolios? Sure, we all like to check in from time to time to see how the companies we've chosen are doing, but when push comes to shove, if a stock is so high-maintenance that it needs to be constantly looked after, it's probably not a good one to own.
Investors should have a long-term outlook with the stocks they buy. Below are five big brand names investors can comfortably add to their portfolios without having to worry about babysitting them.
Known best for its toothpaste and dish detergent, Colgate-Palmolive (NYSE:CL) probably occupies more space in your linen closet, medicine cabinet, kitchen cupboard, and laundry room than you realize. With brands ranging from Speed Stick, Murphy Oil Soap, and Irish Spring to Ajax, Tom's of Maine, and Hill's pet food, Colgate is one of the top consumer products companies in the world. Approximately three-quarters of its total net sales come from markets outside of the U.S., and fully half of them are from emerging markets, limiting its risk from a downturn in any one region. Over the past decade, its stock has doubled in value, a fairly steady climb for a $60 billion company that also pays a dividend yielding 2.3%.
Like Colgate, bleach maker Clorox (NYSE:CLX) does a lot more than what it's usually recognized for, owning cleaners like Pine-Sol, 409, and Tilex, as well as Kingsford charcoal, Liquid-Plumr, and Fresh Step kitty litter. It's also a top consumer products maker, with more than 80% of sales coming from brands that hold the No. 1 or No. 2 market share positions in their respective categories. Sales of its bleach, charcoal, and garbage bags (under the Glad brand) each account for more than 10% of Clorox's revenues. It also pays a dividend that yields a health 2.5%, and its stock has nearly doubled over the last 10 years.
There are few companies that inspire the kind of loyalty Harley-Davidson (NYSE:HOG) motorcycles do. It's become legend how hardcore riders would get tattoos of Harley's bar and shield logo, something you can't imagine someone doing for Colgate or Clorox (OK, maybe someone who really, really likes their toothpaste). The king of big bikes owns half of the heavyweight market for motorcycles 601 ccs and over, and despite changing rider demographics that have caused Harley to begin marketing its iron horses beyond the middle-aged male that traditionally made up its core customer, there's no one even close to supplanting its premier place in the motorcycle market. The financial crash hit Harley-Davidson hard, but its shares have more than quintupled in value since then.
Hershey (NYSE:HSY) is synonymous with chocolate and is the largest producer in North America, where it generates more than 85% of its revenues. It also owns almost a third of the market share in the U.S., but it's also a global leader in chocolate and non-chocolate confectionery. In all, it sells some $7.4 billion worth of product globally each year, and although changing consumer tastes and concerns about health have recently trimmed sales growth, it sees global market opportunities as a chance to expand its share. That could lead to further growth in its stock, which over the last 10 years, has more than doubled in value.
Another brand conglomerate, Newell Brands (NYSE:NWL) also has a portfolio of well-known brands including Sharpie, Elmer's, and X-Acto, but specifically thanks to its acquisition of Jarden last year, it now also owns sports equipment maker Rawlings, camping gear specialist Coleman, consumer electrics brands like Oster, Sunbeam, Foodsaver, and Mr. Coffee, as well as the Yankee Candle brand. Let's not forget Rubbermaid, either. And there's much more! Newell has made quite a number of acquisitions over the years, and it anticipates making more in the future as it executes what it calls its Growth Game Plan, which essentially rolls up a market under its umbrella. Growth by acquisition isn't always an easy strategy to deploy, but Newell Brands has made a successful go at it, and its stock has improved 57% over the preceding decade.
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Because these brand names provide a measure of confidence in the strength, quality, and consistency of their product, consumers keep coming back for more time after time. It's also why a portfolio of big brand companies is one you don't have to babysit.