It's always best to take the long-term approach when investing in stocks, so holding shares of a company you just bought until 2030 shouldn't be out of the question. To help you find a few great stocks you can hold onto for more than 10 years, we asked a few Motley Fool contributors which companies they think fit the description. They came back with Nike (NKE -1.02%), General Motors (GM -5.05%), and Amazon.com (AMZN -2.49%). Let's find out how these companies are positioning themselves to grow over the next decade and more.
This sneaker king isn't going anywhere
Jeremy Bowman (Nike): A lot of things are changing in the business world these days. Technology is disrupting multiple industries, including retail and video entertainment. Renewable energy is slowly replacing fossil fuels, and even the healthcare industry is under threat from some of the brightest minds in business. However, one sector that seems safe from any major disruption is sportswear, where Nike has dominated for a generation.
While the Swoosh has faced some challenges lately, including declining sales in North America due to an ascendant adidas, it remains strong globally, as its brand is virtually unrivaled. It regularly attracts the biggest names in sports to sponsorship deals, including LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Serena Williams, and Cristiano Ronaldo.
With rival Under Armour faltering, Adidas looks like Nike's only serious threat. And the turnaround plan Nike launched at its Investor Day conference in October -- to invest in the direct-to-consumer channel, go deeper with its biggest retail partners, and get product to market faster -- looks promising. The plan seems to have won over investors, as Nike stock is up 28% since the conference.
The stock may be pricey now, at a price-to-earnings ratio of close to 30. But Nike is a proven winner, and the market for sports apparel and footwear, as well as fashion brands, isn't going anywhere. Nike should eventually overcome the headwinds in the domestic retail industry; in the meantime, investors can count on a steadily increasing dividend, as the company has raised the payout every year since initiating it in 2004.
The road ahead
Daniel Miller (General Motors): It sounds crazy, especially considering that General Motors is in a cyclical industry that's currently slowing in North America (the world's most lucrative auto market), but GM is a company you can safely own until 2030. It's not crazy for this reason: The automotive industry is about to evolve in ways most investors aren't considering. Imagine if Uber, valued at roughly $60 billion, had been developed at GM or another Detroit automaker. That would have instantly drawn Wall Street to Detroit, after long leaving its automakers for dead, and would have proven to individual investors that those companies can find new revenue streams.
While Uber wasn't invented in Detroit, it opened the eyes of automakers, and now GM is developing its own ideas. Maven, GM's smart-mobility brand designed to foster such projects, recently launched in Toronto; it enables consumers to sign up and use vehicles on a short-term basis, reducing both vehicle congestion and the need for vehicle ownership.
The automotive industry is on the road to evolving more in the next ten years than it has over the past century; General Motors is positioned to excel with electric vehicles and smart mobility, and in surging markets like China. In a scary industry, GM seems like a safe bet.
The e-commerce giant that's betting on cloud computing
Chris Neiger (Amazon): If you're looking for a company with a high likelihood of dominating in its respective markets, look no further than Amazon. While the company's main revenue driver is its e-commerce platform, it also sells its own hardware like the Echo smart speaker; sells video and music services through its Prime membership program; owns Whole Foods grocery stores; and makes much of its profit from its cloud-computing product, Amazon Web Services (AWS).
Amazon's top line is still dominated by the e-commerce platform, and the company has done an amazing job creating value for its online customers, to keep them coming back. Amazon's Echo speakers, Fire tablets, e-readers, and Prime memberships all form a complex ecosystem designed to rope Amazon customers into making more purchases -- and it's working beautifully. Amazon now has an estimated 90 million Prime members, who spend nearly twice as much on Amazon every year as non-Prime customers.
If that's the only thing Amazon was doing, the company would still deserve to be on a list of stocks to hold until at least 2030. But it's the company's Amazon Web Services that truly solidifies Amazon as a great long-term stock. AWS allows everyone, from Comcast to the smallest web developer, to host content and use cloud-computing tools, and it's paying off for Amazon's bottom line. AWS brought in $1.3 billion in operating income in the fourth quarter of 2017 and has a nice operating margin of 26.5%, compared to just 4.5% for the company's North American e-commerce sales.
The cloud-computing market will be worth an estimated $411 billion by 2020, according to research by Gartner, and Amazon already holds 40% right now; its next-closest competitor is Microsoft, which has just 11%. Amazon's complete dominance in the growing cloud-computing market, along with AWS' high margins and the company's leadership in e-commerce, means that Amazon is well-positioned to be a great long-term buy for the next decade or more.