We Fools love to find companies that are so strong that they can be safely held for decades on end. Companies like this are few and far between, but that doesn't mean they don't exist.
Knowing that, we asked a team of Foolish contributors to highlight a stock that they think is an ideal buy-and-hold-forever candidate. Here's why they picked Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX), Brookfield Property Partners (NASDAQ:BPY), Illumina (NASDAQ:ILMN), and Nike (NYSE:NKE).
Put a cup of joe in your portfolio
Dan Caplinger (Starbucks): It's hard to imagine, but there was a time when people couldn't expect to find coffeehouses nearly everywhere in major cities across the nation. Starbucks was the instrument of change for that transformation, bringing the coffeehouse culture from Europe and making it distinctly American. Over the course of nearly half a century, Starbucks has grown from its modest origins in Seattle's Pike Place Market to become a global behemoth.
Starbucks can count on a loyal customer base that has proven willing to wait in long lines every morning at countless locations across its network, and that has provided a strong fundamental base even during economically challenging times that one might have thought would lead to consumer cost-cutting and declining sales. Yet Starbucks hasn't been willing to rest on its past success, and its future looks bright as it keeps looking for more ways to woo customers and give them not just the products but also the experiences they want to enjoy.
Some fear that CEO Howard Schultz's imminent move out of the top executive role could mark a top for Starbucks. Yet Schultz has high hopes to move in new directions, pushing toward an ultra-premium offering that could propel Starbucks to even more success. As long as people drink coffee, Starbucks will have a place in people's portfolios.
Truly passive real estate investing
Matt DiLallo (Brookfield Property Partners): Owning real estate has long been considered an excellent way to generate passive income. That said, anyone who has invested in rental properties will tell you that there's nothing passive about it; the rent checks aren't always sitting in your mailbox when they're supposed to be there and toilets seem to overflow after midnight. However, there are ways to avoid these pitfalls of real estate investing, such as by investing in a real estate investment trust (REIT) or a real estate partnership. While there are several excellent options out there, the best of the bunch, in my opinion, is Brookfield Property Partners.
What I like about Brookfield Property Partners is that it owns some of the best real estate assets on the planet, including 149 premier office properties in most of the top gateway markets and 126 of the best malls in America. Because of the top-tier nature of these assets, Brookfield has no problem attracting and keeping tenants. In fact, its office properties are currently 91% leased with an average remaining term of eight years while its malls are 95.5% occupied. Overall, these properties provide Brookfield Property Partners with steady cash flow, enabling it to pay investors a generous 5% distribution.
In addition to that core portfolio, Brookfield has invested in several new property types to drive growth. These include its current efforts to build a core urban multifamily portfolio from the ground up as well as investments in several opportunistic real estate funds that own self-storage, industrial, hospitality, student housing, and other property types. These investments, as well as investments to develop and redevelop office and retail properties, should drive 5% to 8% annual distribution growth for investors over the long term.
With an exceptional portfolio of prime real estate assets and ample upside from new opportunities, Brookfield Property Partners is an investment that you can buy and hold forever to collect a growing stream of passive income.
A picks-and-shovels play on biotech
Brian Feroldi (Illumina): The biotechnology sector offers investors some of the greatest chances at growth over the coming decades as new medicines are discovered and launched to market. That's wonderful for humanity, but it is hard for investors to identify which biotech stocks are going to be the winners ahead of time. That's why I think that a smart way to invest in the space is by buying Illumina, a leading provider of genetic testing equipment.
Illumina has dominated the genetic testing market since its founding in 1998. Every few years the company rolls out a next-generation version of its testing equipment that substantially lowers the cost of decoding the human genome. As costs continue to fall, biotech researchers and scientists alike are finding new uses for the machines and using the technology to create advanced medicines.
Recently, Illumina announced that it is launching yet another cutting-edge system -- called the NovaSeq series -- which the company believes will soon enable an entire genome to be sequenced for as little as $100. That's a substantial leap forward from today's cost of roughly $1,000 per test, and should drive mass adoption by researchers, clinicians, and patients everywhere.
While sales of NovaSeq systems should take off, what's really wonderful about Illumina's business model is that each test on its system requires the use of consumable products. In fact, the majority of the company's revenue actual comes from the sales of sequencing consumables and microarrays. This razor-and-blades business model provides the company with terrific recurring revenue that helps to ensure its top line ticks higher over time, even when new system sales slow.
With a strong trend at its back and a resilient business model, I think that Illumina is an ideal buy-and-hold-forever investment.
The brand that rules global culture
Travis Hoium (Nike): Nike isn't just any apparel brand. It's the leading company in sports apparel, has defined fashion for decades, and has developed one of the best online sales strategies of any retail brand.
The first moat that's hard to break is the validation Nike can continually buy from the best athletes in any sport. Look at LeBron James' reported $1 billion lifetime deal with Nike as an example of what scale can buy. Who could match that?
Another underappreciated strategic move Nike has made in recent years is becoming one of the best digital marketing and direct sales companies in the world. Nike does limited product launches online, suggests customized orders, and ships direct to customers. This gives the company insight into customer preferences, increases margins versus selling into retail, and reduces inventory risk. It's a win all around.
Nike has built a brand that's so valuable and is so well-run that it has a moat that will make the company relevant for decades to come. That's why this is a stock you can buy and hold forever.