One of the best ways to build long-term wealth in the stock market is to buy into great companies and then hang on as long as the companies remain in good shape and have solid growth prospects.
Here are three contenders for your portfolio that all have very promising futures -- and they're all stocks I currently own, and plan to hang onto for a long time. See if any of them might be a good fit for you.
Costco (COST 1.24%) is a warehouse retailer familiar to most Americans, and to many people in more far-flung areas such as Europe and Japan. As of early January, it was the third-largest global retailer and the 14th-largest company in the Fortune 500, with a recent market value of $148 billion and around 275,000 employees. One of the keys to Costco's success is its membership-based business model, which boasts 59 million member households and generates about $3.5 billion in annual revenue just from customers paying for the privilege of shopping at Costco and enjoying its benefits. Customers generally don't end up regretting that membership, either -- renewal rates are 88% on a global basis.
Costco, like most other companies, was challenged by the pandemic. But it reacted well, and ended up seeing its e-commerce operations grow by 50% from fiscal 2019 to fiscal 2020 as more members ordered goods delivered. It acquired a logistics company, too, to improve its deliver service. Indeed, Costco's revenue rose 9.3% over fiscal 2020, while earnings grew 9.4%.
Costco's dividend recently yielded only 0.85%, but those who buy in at recent levels are likely to enjoy dividends that grow at a rapid clip -- dividend growth averaged 12% annually over the past five years. And on top of that, the company occasionally issues special dividends, such as the $10-per-share one from late last year and a $7-per-share one in 2017. This is a very solid long-term portfolio candidate with a promising future.
2. Google parent Alphabet
Unlike Costco, Alphabet (GOOG 4.16%) (GOOGL 4.20%), the parent company of Google, offers no dividend. But that's OK, as the stock alone is likely to grow at a healthy clip over the coming years. Part of the reason why is because Alphabet encompasses more businesses than just its dominant search engine. (That's why it changed its name to Alphabet in 2015 -- with a fancy new web address, abc.xyz.)
Alphabet also encompasses Google Cloud, for example, which grew its revenue by 46% between fiscal 2019 and 2020, and YouTube.com as well. YouTube has grown into a major Internet property, with Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai noting that, "more than half a million channels live streamed on YouTube for the first time in 2020." The company also owns the Google Play store, smart thermostat-maker Nest, and Fitbit, among other things.
Alphabet is one of the most richly valued companies on Earth, with a recent market capitalization of nearly $1.4 trillion. That might make you think it can't grow too fast -- but you'd be wrong. In its fourth quarter it blew past estimated earnings per share (EPS) of $15.90, reporting $22.30 on $56.9 billion in revenue, up 23% year-over-year. Income from operations popped 69%. Its full-year fiscal 2020 revenue jumped 13% over 2019 levels, with income from operations rising 20%. There's a lot to like about Alphabet.
That brings us to Starbucks (SBUX 2.98%), which I own not only for its great business but also for a sillier reason: I wince at the thought of paying $5 or more for a fancy beverage, but since I own shares and have made thousands of dollars from Starbucks over the years I can rationalize splurging now and then. But back to the business: Starbucks' market value recently topping $126 billion, and the company already boasts nearly 33,000 locations, and hopes to have 55,000 locations by 2030 -- in which case it would surpass both McDonald's and Subway in number of locations.
Starbucks' first-quarter earnings report, released in January, revealed a company getting back on track after being whacked by the pandemic. Full-year revenue for fiscal 2020 fell 11% year-over-year to $23.5 billion, but fourth-quarter revenue only dropped 8%. The Starbucks mobile app helped the company make it through the worst of the pandemic, with CEO Kevin Johnson noting in the January conference call with analysts:
This quarter, mobile orders represented 25% of U.S. company-operated transactions in Q1, up from 17% before the pandemic, providing clear evidence that our initiatives are resonating with customers. We continue to see average tickets meaningfully higher than pre-pandemic levels driven by group order, a combination of increased beverage attach, premium beverage mix, increased customization and upsizing, and an all-time high food attachment all drove U.S. ticket growth of approximately 19% in Q1.
Starbucks stock pays a dividend that recently yielded 1.7%, and it has been hiking that payout by an annual average of 18% over the past five years. If it grows at the same rate over the next five years, the $1.80 per share total annual payout would rise to $4.05.
Any of these blue-chip stocks could serve you well over the long haul. Take a closer look at any that interest you.