Large-cap stocks can form the foundation of your investment portfolio. With market capitalizations of $10 billion or more, these proven businesses tend to have more diversified revenue streams and greater financial strength than their smaller rivals. In turn, they can help you build long-term wealth and add ballast to your portfolio in both bull and bear markets.
Here are three large-cap stocks that could earn you big returns.
The payments giant
One of the keys to successful large-cap investing is to identify businesses that are benefiting from long-term global trends. The shift toward digital payments and away from cash transactions is one such trend -- and Mastercard (MA -1.42%) is better positioned to benefit than perhaps any other company.
Mastercard earns a fee every time someone uses one of the 2.6 billion debit and credit cards on its network. While small on an individual basis, they add up to hefty sums. These card processing fees and Mastercard's ancillary businesses produced $4.1 billion in revenue and $2 billion in profits in the second quarter alone.
But rather than simply letting the rising tide of digital payments lift its boat, Mastercard is constantly working to strengthen its competitive position. The company has been quick to adopt innovative technologies like blockchain and move into massive new markets such as cross-border payments. Additionally, Mastercard's bountiful cash flow allows it to make value-creating acquisitions, while still returning capital to shareholders via stock buybacks and a steadily growing dividend.
With the majority of the world's transactions still made with cash, Mastercard has many years of solid growth still ahead. So despite its massive $270 billion market capitalization, Mastercard's investors can still expect solid returns from this point forward.
The entertainment colossus
Walt Disney (DIS -2.88%) reigns supreme in the realm of entertainment. Its majority-owned ESPN dominates the world of sports. Its namesake Disney brand supplies it with a huge treasure trove of cherished characters and timeless storylines. And its acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm added wildly popular franchises like Toy Story, Avengers, and Star Wars to its ever-expanding portfolio of entertainment assets.
Disney monetizes this incredible collection of assets via its vast empire of theme parks, cruise ships, movie studios, and TV networks. Through the first nine months of fiscal 2019, the company has produced more than $50 billion in revenue and nearly $10 billion in net profit -- and investors can expect these massive figures to continue to head higher over time.
The launch of Disney+ in November should serve as a powerful growth catalyst. The new streaming service will make Disney's immense library of movies and TV shows available to subscribers for only $6.99 per month. The company believes the service could gain 60 million to 90 million subscribers by 2024 and achieve profitability by the end of that year. Combined with Disney's other streaming services -- namely, ESPN+ and Hulu -- the company's total subscriber count could grow to more than 160 million within the next half-decade. A streaming subscriber count of that size might produce more than $12 billion in additional recurring annual revenue for Disney.
With Disney's streaming initiatives fueling its growth, the $235 billion behemoth is likely to grow far larger in the decade ahead.
The tech titan
What would a large-cap stock buy list be without one of the largest and best stocks of all? Of course, I'm talking about Apple (AAPL -3.67%).
Apple needs little introduction. Its iPhones, iPads, and Macs are known the world over, and more than 1.4 billion of its devices are currently in use around the globe. Apple generated more than $42 billion from device sales in the third quarter alone.
Moreover, this massive installed base of devices provides Apple with the opportunity to sell its high-margin services at an incredible scale. The company's services revenue rose 13% year over year, to $11.5 billion, in the third quarter. The segment is now the tech giant's second-largest business behind the iPhone, and it's poised to become even larger. Apple recently unveiled several new services -- including Apple TV+, News+, and Arcade -- that should help it generate significantly higher revenue from its device base over time.
Apple also has a booming wearables business, spearheaded by Apple Watch and AirPods. Apple Watch's health features are helping to spur sales -- and even save lives. The company's tremendously popular AirPods, meanwhile, have allowed it to capture more than half of the fast-growing hearables market it helped create.
With its services and wearables segments fueling its growth while its iPhone, iPad, and Mac businesses continue to produce bountiful profits, Apple's stock gives investors many ways to win in the years ahead.