Even though the COVID-19 pandemic is still going strong, U.S. stock markets have nonetheless sharply rebounded over the past three weeks. Since hitting four-year lows in late March, for instance, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained 30.3%, the Nasdaq Composite has risen by 26%, and the S&P 500 has marched higher by a healthy 28.3%. Even so, there are still plenty of amazing bargains to be had in this volatile market. A select few blue-chip stocks, in fact, are poised to post market-crushing gains over the next decade.
Which blue-chip stocks are the best buys right now? While there are several attractive names to choose from in this market, Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B) and Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ:GILD) are arguably the cream of the crop. Here's why.
Berkshire: An incredibly cheap way to diversify your portfolio
Berkshire Hathaway is the diversified holding company run by superstar investors Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger. At last count, Berkshire held 52 top-rated equities across nearly every sector, along with around $125 billion in cold, hard cash. The company's shares didn't perform terribly well during the roughly 10-year-long bull market, but it was never designed to be a red-hot growth vehicle.
Instead, Buffett and Munger's stroke of genius centers on buying defensively oriented stocks that tend to muddle along during bull markets, but that markedly outperform other asset classes during periods of strife. By taking this counterintuitive track, Berkshire's shares have been able to clobber the broader markets over the past 20 years -- a hectic period that has now seen three major market-moving events (9/11, the 2008 financial crisis, and the COVID-19 pandemic).
Nonetheless, Berkshire's shares are still down by almost 17% from their 52-week highs right now. Berkshire's Class B shares, in fact, are trading at a three-year low at the moment. Although Buffett and Munger have said they don't plan on going on a spending spree during the current crisis, their track record of beating the broader markets on a consistent basis cannot be denied. So if you're looking for a cheap way to gain exposure to some of the best companies in the world and take advantage of the two of the best minds in finance, Berkshire is undoubtedly the way to go.
Gilead Sciences: A new era is taking shape
Gilead is the king of infectious disease treatments. The Californian biotech first made a name for itself by developing game-changing treatments for HIV -- a market it still dominates today. After that, Gilead upended the hepatitis C market by bringing functional cures to market such as Sovaldi and Harvoni.
Now the biotech is aiming to bring COVID-19 to its proverbial knees through a once-failed Ebola medication called remdesivir. Last week, a preliminary report emerged that remdesivir is bending the curve on severely ill COVID-19 patients. The study is far from a finished product, but investors are clearly hopeful about the drug's prospects. As proof, Gilead's shares rose by almost 20% at one point immediately following the release of this sneak peak at remdesivir's late-stage trial data.
Remdesivir isn't even the most compelling reason to buy this top biotech stock, however. Over the last five years, Gilead has amassed one of the largest cash positions in the industry. And with a new CEO at the helm, the company has started to put this cash stockpile to use, evinced by its recent acquisition of the clinical-stage oncology company Forty Seven. What's more, rumors are swirling that Gilead has eyeballs on two other immuno-oncology companies as well. Put simply, the biotech seems intent on ratcheting up its oncology portfolio through a string of value-creating deals this year.
The big picture is that Gilead appears ready to dive head first into the high-value cancer market. Now, this complex transition from an infectious disease giant into to a top oncology company will take a few years to play out. However, patient investors can sit back and collect the biotech's above average dividend yield of 3.64%, while waiting for this next chapter of this blue-chip biotech's story to unfold.