Never say never, right? Well, with many stocks I own, I don't plan to sell them for many years -- and it's very possible that I'll never sell them, if they remain in my portfolio until I die and end up in the hands of my heirs.
It takes a lot to be a never-gonna-sell stock, such as inspiring confidence that the company will be around for a long time, succeeding. An ability to adapt to changing times is important, as are competitive advantages.
Here's a look at three stocks I have no plans to sell.
No. 1: Berkshire Hathaway
Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A -0.87%) (BRK.B -0.86%) is the company that has been helmed by Warren Buffett for more than 50 years. It encompasses dozens of companies that he has bought outright, such as Benjamin Moore, Brooks, International Dairy Queen, Johns Manville, Justin Brands, McLane, Business Wire, Clayton Homes, Forest River, Fruit of the Loom, GEICO, NetJets, See's Candies, and the entire BNSF railroad. The company also has very significant stock holdings, in companies such as Apple, Coca-Cola, Bank of America, and American Express.
Buffett turned 90 this year, but that doesn't make me worried about holding on to my shares for the long run. He has a succession plan ready, and already has two investing lieutenants allocating many billions of dollars for the company. These younger lieutenants have been delivering well, investing in some companies that Buffett wouldn't have -- such as Apple. Berkshire's Apple position recently made up some 45% of its invested assets.
The diversity of Berkshire's holdings should also help it be a long-term holding. If the economy heads south, for example, and some of its subsidiaries see a pullback, others will be more resilient, offsetting damage. NetJets, for example, which offers fractional shares of private jets, may suffer during a recession, and the BNSF railroad might be transporting less freight, but people will still keep buying ice cream, candy, underwear, and insurance.
No. 2: PayPal
PayPal (PYPL -1.26%) is a company I'm comfortable owning for the long term because it's dominant in the fintech arena of financial technology and digital payment processing, and nimble enough to keep evolving. Obviously, it owns the huge PayPal payment processing business, but it also owns the newer, fast-growing person-to-person payment system Venmo. It serves more than 350 consumer and merchant customers in more than 200 countries and territories.
PayPal's value has surged over the past year, and it recently sported a market value near $281 billion. That's not too far behind MasterCard's $322 billion value, and far more than the value of companies such as Nike, PepsiCo, and AT&T. Its recent price-to-sales (P/S) ratio of 14 and price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 91 are far higher than its five-year average P/S of 7 and P/E of 54 -- so the stock does not appear to be a great value at the moment. If you're interested in it, perhaps add it to your watch list and wait for a pullback.
No. 3: Netflix
Finally, there's Netflix (NFLX -1.13%), which has averaged annual gains of more than 33% over the past 10 years. Not surprisingly, then, the stock has almost always appeared rather richly valued -- while continuing to go on to new highs. It still seems pricey, but since I bought my shares long ago, I'm ignoring that and just continuing to hold. Newcomers to Netflix will have to decide whether they think it's still a long-term buy.
The bull case for Netflix rests partly on its excellent business execution over the years (despite a hiccup here and there). It has kept growing its subscriber base, which recently numbered more than 195 million worldwide -- and it has been able to raise its prices now and then, as well. It might generate much more revenue should it decide to run advertising on its service -- perhaps as part of a tiered scheme, with top-tier subscribers paying more to avoid ads. A 2020 survey found that along with YouTube, teenagers favored Netflix for their streaming entertainment. That bodes well for the company's future. Also, J.D. Power found that when consumers had to say which streaming service they'd choose if they could only have one, 54% chose Netflix, followed by 17% choosing Amazon.com's Prime Video.
Netflix detractors point to its ample competition from Prime Video, Hulu, HBO, and many others. Disney's relatively new Disney+ streaming service is a new rival, and one that's growing fast. For my part, I'm hanging on comfortably. Even if Netflix is toppled from its top position, it can still be a good long-term holding. Think of PepsiCo and Coca-Cola, for example, and how there can be multiple dominant companies in an industry.
These are just a few of the many strong and growing companies out there that you might consider for your own super-long-term portfolio. Blue chip stocks and dividend-paying stocks are fertile hunting grounds for promising long-term holdings. Just be sure that with any holding, long-term or short-term, you keep up with it over time, periodically making sure it's still in good shape.