Stock trading platform Robinhood has been in the news quite a bit recently, and not for the best reasons. In short, the no-fee, easy-to-use platform has become widely used by inexperienced investors to day trade stocks in the hopes of making quick profits.
While that is certainly some of what Robinhood is used for, it doesn't tell the whole story. Many of Robinhood's 13 million users are approaching the platform in the right way – as an easy way to get started buying top-quality stocks and holding them for the long term.
One thing we can definitively say about Robinhood is that the company is very transparent about the stocks its members are buying, publishing a frequently updated list of the most popular stocks owned by its members. And as you might expect, some of them are in distressed and volatile industries like cruise lines and airlines. However, some of the most popular stocks on Robinhood's platform are excellent choices for buy-and-hold investors, like these four – all of which are near the top of the list of Robinhood investors' most popular stock holdings.
1. Disney (Owned by 618,593 Robinhood users)
Obviously, the COVID-19 pandemic hasn't left Walt Disney (DIS -2.60%) completely unscathed. Its theme parks were forced to shut down in March and are just now preparing to reopen, the company's cruise line isn't sailing, and its lucrative film studio hasn't had any movie theaters to show off its latest films.
However, Disney remains one of the most valuable brands in entertainment, and its revenue should snap back nicely once the pandemic starts to subside, and the company has more than enough liquidity to make it through the tough times. I've personally added shares of Disney at the depressed pandemic-era price level, and it's encouraging to see more than 600,000 Robinhood users owning such an excellent company.
2. Microsoft (484,629 users)
Microsoft (MSFT -1.27%) has nearly become synonymous with "large, stable tech stock" these days, and this has been further bolstered by its transition to recurring revenue software-as-a-service (SaaS) and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) products over the past decade or so, as well as the growth of its Azure cloud computing business. Stable recurring revenue combined with consistent double-digit earnings growth are a winning combination, and it's refreshing to see nearly half a million Robinhood users adding this tech staple to their portfolio.
3. Apple (464,364 users)
The largest company in the U.S. stock market (by market cap), Apple (AAPL -1.51%) is a favorite among investors of all sizes, from newer investors on platforms like Robinhood all the way up to billionaires like Warren Buffett. In fact, Buffett owns so much Apple stock through Berkshire Hathaway's (BRK.A -0.22%) (BRK.B -0.28%) portfolio that it makes up one-fifth of his company's entire market capitalization.
Apple is a great company not just because consumers love its products, but because of the tech ecosystem it continues to build. Apple customers tend to stay Apple customers, and the company's growing subscriptions services business should help keep it that way.
4. Bank of America (335,217 users)
The current environment is a terrible one for the banking business. Not only is the COVID-19 pandemic expected to create a spike in loan losses, but record low interest rates also make it more difficult for banks to profit from lending.
Having said that, it's important to realize that Bank of America (BAC -2.37%) isn't exactly in the same boat as the cruise lines and airlines. For one thing, it's a well-capitalized business and there's absolutely no reason to believe it will face any serious financial trouble. Plus, Bank of America has done a great job over the past decade or so of improving asset quality and efficiency and will be in a great position for its business to rebound after the pandemic.
Great stocks to buy and hold
Trading platforms like Robinhood can be an excellent way to get started with investing in stocks. While there are some who are clearly using Robinhood to gamble on the short-term movements of stocks, it seems like many are using the platform the right way -- to build a portfolio of high-quality stocks like these four.