The merits of long-term investing have been drummed into us time and again, but the reality is that it can be tough to find stocks you're comfortable owning for years. The pandemic has invariably altered the economic landscape and caused a seismic shift for a wide swath of businesses. Business models have had to adapt amid changes in human behavior.
However, even with the many changes around us, some things still stay the same. Humans still need to eat, drink, sleep and exercise, though we may do so differently over time. The key in investing is to search for businesses that can make it through the changes and still come out strong. Such businesses are usually helmed by strong brands that make them household names even through multiple crises.
Here are two stocks you can buy and hold for eternity.
If there were an award for the strongest sports apparel and footwear brand, it would undoubtedly go to Nike (NYSE:NKE). The $240 billion company has weathered the pandemic well to come out even stronger as its Consumer Direct Acceleration marketing strategy helps it connect effectively with customers.
The company recently released its fiscal 2021 full-year earnings, and its fourth-quarter revenue nearly doubled year over year to $12.3 billion. Nike also reported a jump in gross margin to 45.8% from 37.3% for the quarter. In addition, the bottom line enjoyed a sharp turnaround, chalking up $1.5 billion in net income compared to the loss incurred in the same period last year due to pandemic-related store closures. What's more, Nike also provided strong guidance through 2025, confident that it can grow revenue at roughly 10% per year while earnings before interest and taxes should see growth in the high teens.
Nike's CEO John Donahoe attributed the strong performance to Nike's successful digital advantage over its competitors. The company's suite of apps has enabled deeper engagement with its customer base, and membership to its loyalty program has hit more than 300 million. Digital is also responsible for an increasing proportion of total sales, with digital revenue hitting 35% of group revenue more than three years ahead of plan.
The company's innovative footwear, coupled with endorsements by top athletes, serves to cement its pole position in the sportswear industry. Along with its digital investments, Nike should serve up healthy growth for many more years.
Procter and Gamble
Let's turn our attention to a company with a portfolio of consumer brands that have been in business since 1837. Procter and Gamble (NYSE:PG) is a $330 billion consumer behemoth with a portfolio of products in beauty, grooming, hair care, baby care, and home care. The company owns instantly recognizable brands such as Pantene, Olay, Gillette, Oral-B, and Pampers and sells its products in more than 180 countries.
Investors love Procter and Gamble for its slow but steady growth and also its stellar dividend-paying track record. The company recently declared its 65th consecutive year of dividend increases, with the quarterly dividend rising to $0.8698 per share. This impressive run of increases makes the company a perfect income stock for those who seek a steady inflow of cash to tide them over in their retirement years.
The company has also demonstrated its resilience during the pandemic. For the quarter ended March 31, net sales rose 5% year over year to $18.1 billion while operating income increased by 10%. Net earnings rose by 12% year over year, with Procter and Gamble managing to increase its gross margin from 49.4% to 50.7%. Organic sales growth even jumped in the U.S. from 5% before the pandemic to 13% during the pandemic.
Procter and Gamble will continue building the business across four key pillars: innovation, brand-building, supply chain management, and digitalization and data analytics. The pandemic has heightened awareness of hygiene and cleanliness, providing the company with increased opportunities to sell through its hygiene products. And with more people telecommuting and studying from home, home and family care products should also see rising demand. An increasing preference for established brands means Procter and Gamble is well-positioned to continue growing its market share and delivering steady results in the years to come.