We're riding along with one of the longest bull markets in history. As a consequence, many good stocks have seen their prices shoot up well into the triple -- and even quadruple -- digits.
But there are plenty of quality titles out there that don't require spending half of a monthly salary to own. Here is a pair of stocks that are not only worthwhile today, but will likely reward their owners for a great many years to come: Coca-Cola (KO 0.29%) and Verizon Communications (VZ 0.59%).
Coke is a classic American company that has been a favorite blue-chip stock for many investors over the years. It's no wonder -- even in challenging times, the company always finds a way to earn a buck and amass mountains of cash.
These certainly qualify as challenging times for Coke. The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc with a great many businesses, including restaurants, a key customer base for the company. Meanwhile, in a long-tail trend that shows little sign of abating, consumers around the world are demanding healthier choices in the food and beverages they buy and consume.
But the ever-enduring company is still managing to turn a mighty profit despite these considerable headwinds -- and has even posted some top-line growth of late. Coke's third quarter saw it lift net revenue a sturdy 16% to over $10 billion, helped by consumers returning to restaurants (before the omicron variant emerged). Consolidated net income leaped 42% higher to nearly $2.5 billion.
Impressively, that represents a 20%-plus net profit margin, illustrating an important part of Coke's lasting appeal: its durable and strong profitability. There's a reason it's been a favorite holding of many successful investors. Among these is Warren Buffett, whose Berkshire Hathaway has held a large Coke position since 1988.
Another big part of Coke's appeal is its dividend, which is one of the steadiest and most reliable on the market. The company has not only been doling it out with comforting regularity for decades; it's actually a Dividend King. And Coca-Cola is not chintzy with the payout -- at the most recent share price, the stock yielded nearly 2.9%, a very respectable figure when matched against many other blue-chip stock distributions.
Verizon is a leader in the telecom sector that didn't get a lot of love from Mr. Market in 2021. Several top- and bottom-line misses across the year's quarters badly affected investor sentiment. Meanwhile, investors tended to favor other tech titles seen to be better plays, either on the coronavirus or the anticipated post-pandemic recovery.
The company didn't deserve to be punished like that. After all, in each of the last three reported quarters, Verizon has managed decent growth in both revenue and net profit despite the aforementioned misses. Notably, at times those two line items were higher not only when compared to pandemic-blighted 2020, but also to pre-coronavirus 2019.
Investor disfavor has pushed Verizon down into bargain stock territory; its forward price-to-earnings ratio is a ridiculous 9.3. Meanwhile the company has been plowing money into building out its 5G network, an effort that should pay off handsomely in the coming years if it can become the leader in that attractive technology. Customers are already snapping up new(ish) 5G-capable devices at an impressive clip, a trend that'll help boost growth.
Speaking of those customers, there are around 95 million retail connections on Verizon's network. That equates to heavy and regular cash flow. Verizon is clearly dedicated to using much of this for a shareholder dividend, one that it's paid since before it was called Verizon (it was previously Bell Atlantic -- for you corporate trivia buffs). And from 2007, that payout has seen a raise once every year.
Those constant increases, combined with the sagging share price, has made for quite a hefty dividend yield -- 4.9% at the most recent closing stock price. So with Verizon we've got a nice runway for growth, a cheap stock price, a high dividend yield -- all layered on top of a business that millions of customers will be using regularly well into the foreseeable future.