Buying and holding investments forever is not always a practical strategy. There can be a lot of volatility in the markets that impacts not only individual stocks but entire sectors. That's why finding a forever stock can be very challenging.
However, these two stocks offer investors stability and terrific track records, making them ideal long-term investments that you can buy and forget about for years to come.
Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) is an iconic beverage maker that has been able to remain relevant over the years as the markets changed and consumer tastes evolved. Today, the company has a strong lineup of healthy products, including Smartwater, Dasani, Vitaminwater, and other brands that give Coca-Cola the ability to cater to consumers who are moving away from sugary products.
Its strategy of offering healthier products and smaller can sizes has been working. In its most recent quarterly earnings released in October, the company's net revenue was up 8% from the prior-year quarter. A big driver of the company's growth was Coke Zero Sugar, which saw improved sales. Coca-Cola's mini-cans are proving popular as well; the 7.5-oz. cans experienced double-digit sales growth during the quarter.
Coca-Cola has also adapted to consumer preferences by making greener products. Last month, Coca-Cola announced that its bottles in Sweden "will be made from 100% recycled material," eliminating 3,500 tons of plastic. Initiatives such as focusing on pollution reduction and offering healthier products make Coca-Cola an ideal forever stock. The company's ability to evolve and stay current is critical to its long-term success.
In five years, Coca-Cola's share price has risen by more than 29%. Its 3% dividend yield is a great added bonus, especially given that Coca-Cola is a Dividend Aristocrat, and those quarterly dividend payments are likely to rise over the years.
2. Abbott Laboratories
Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) is another Dividend Aristocrat that investors can add to their list for long-term dividend income. The medical device maker's dividend yield of 1.5% is a more modest payout than what Coca-Cola offers, but the company's streak of increasing dividends for more than 40 straight years makes it a formidable income stock for investors.
The company's appeal is that it sells a variety of different products for both everyday consumers and health professionals, ranging from cardiovascular devices to diabetes care and diagnostics. Its Freestyle continuous glucose monitor, Similac infant formula, and Ensure nutritional products are noteworthy products in its portfolio.
Its diverse product base and well-balanced financials make the stock a forever buy. In its most recent quarter, the company's sales were up 5% from the same quarter last year. But what stands out is its terrific sales mix. Abbott's sales from cardiovascular and neuromodulation products were $2.4 billion, accounting for 30% of the company's sales during the quarter. The company's diagnostic products contributed $1.9 billion, or 24% of its top line. Abbott also earned another $1.9 million in revenue from nutritional products, with established pharmaceutical products accounting for $1.2 billion and making up the smallest chunk of revenue at 15% of sales.
Having a very balanced sales mix will help Abbott expand without being overly reliant on any one business segment. The company has also had no trouble staying profitable over the years, as operating income has been at least $1.7 billion in each of the past four years.
In five years, the stock has grown more than 85% in value. The healthcare stock's impressive track record for dividends and impressive mix of products makes it a good stock to buy and hold forever.
Which stock is the better buy today?
Coca-Cola's higher dividend yield will certainly make the stock an appealing option for income-oriented investors. However, growth may be harder to come by as consumers continue to turn away from sugar. That's why Abbott's stock might be the better choice for investors who prioritize capital appreciation over dividend income. But either stock could be a great fit for your portfolio for many years, and even forever.