When you're hunting for stocks to add to your portfolio, the best way to fuel and maximize your returns is to focus on high-quality companies that you can hold on to for many years. Not all stocks make the cut, but finding ones that do might be easier than you think.
If you're searching for golden eggs to add to your basket for the long haul, look no further. Here are three smart stocks that shrewd investors are scooping up right now.
salesforce.com (CRM 0.62%) is trading down almost 9% from just a few months ago, so it's a great time to buy shares of the cloud-computing behemoth at a real bargain. It's the largest customer relationship management (CRM) company in the world. This is no small feat, given that the CRM market is on track to achieve a valuation of nearly $129 billion by the year 2028, according to Fortune Business Insights.
Salesforce's fiscal year 2021 ended on Jan. 31. During the 12-month period, the company's total revenues spiked 24% from fiscal 2020. Subscription and support revenues shot up 25%, while professional services and other revenues spiked a healthy 21% year over year.
Salesforce reported financial results for the first quarter of its fiscal 2022 on May 27. Simply put, it was an exceptional quarter of growth on all fronts. In the three-month period (ended April 30), Salesforce grew its top line 23% to just below $6 billion and boosted its cash flow by a whopping 74% year over year.
CEO Marc Benioff called it "the best first quarter in our company's history," with CFO Amy Weaver stating, "We saw record levels of new business and strength across all products, regions, and customer sizes." Weaver also said, "Our impressive start to this year helps fuel our momentum for the rest of the year as we keep pace toward our goal of $50 billion in revenue in FY26."
The company is targeting approximately 22% revenue growth for its fiscal 2022 (partially fueled by momentum from its pending acquisition of Slack) and expects to report total revenue in the ballpark of $26 billion. As Salesforce continues to expand its massive presence in the CRM space, investors can also reap the profits of its long-term success.
The home-improvement market is steadily growing. According to Global Market Insights, this sector will hit a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 4% between 2021 and 2027. As a company at the forefront of this market, Lowe's (LOW 0.76%) benefited from its "essential" status during the pandemic and continues to profit from consistent demand for its products and services.
After a banner 2020, when Lowe's reported 24% in total net sales growth, investors were watching closely for its first-quarter 2021 earnings report. They weren't disappointed. During the three-month period, the company's total sales surged by just shy of 24% year over year, accompanied by consolidated comparable-sales growth and U.S. comparable-sales growth of 25.9% and 24.4%, respectively.
Shares of Lowe's have gained considerable steam over the past year. The stock is trading about 52% higher than just one year ago, and analysts think it has upside potential as high as 29% from here.
There's another reason for investors to like this stock -- its dividend. Lowe's pays a dividend that yields about 1.2% based on current share prices, but it's the company's track record of consistently raising its dividend that really takes the cake. Lowe's is one of an elite group of stocks called Dividend Kings and has faithfully hiked its dividend every year for nearly 60 years. In fact, Lowe's paid out $440 million in dividends in the first quarter of 2021 alone.
If you're looking for reliable dividend income and steady growth to lend durability to your portfolio for decades to come, Lowe's passes both tests with flying colors.
3. Vertex Pharmaceuticals
Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX 3.74%) is a prominent presence in the rare disease drug market. All four of the company's approved medicines are for the treatment of cystic fibrosis (CF). Its blockbuster drug Trikafta has been a game-changer in the fight against CF and is actually approved to treat about 90% of all individuals who have the condition.
Vertex is also working on a lineup of drugs and therapies for the treatment of a broad array of other rare conditions, including the blood diseases sickle cell anemia and beta-thalassemia.
Vertex Pharmaceuticals has a respectable track record of superior balance-sheet growth, and the year 2020 was no different. The company generated revenue to the tune of $6.2 billion, a notable 55% spike from 2019. As impressive as its top-line financial performance was last year, Vertex's bottom-line gains left it in the dust. In total, the company's net income surged 130% in 2020.
The company marked another strong period of growth in the first quarter of 2021. Its product revenues increased 14% year over year to $1.7 billion ($1.2 billion of which was derived from Trikafta sales), and its net income rose 8% from the year-ago stretch.
Vertex made major progress on its research-and-development pipeline in the first quarter, giving the green light to "clinical programs in six additional diseases beyond cystic fibrosis," according to management. The company is also in the process of seeking new indications for its existing drugs, including star Trikafta.
Shares of Vertex are down about 10% year to date, so it's a great time to scoop up this premium healthcare stock on sale. The stock isn't likely to drive lightning-fast returns, but its consistent balance-sheet gains and the strength of its underlying business make it a solid play that can deliver growth and value to your portfolio for the long haul.