Here at The Motley Fool, we recommend a lot of different stocks, and for good reason. There's no one-size-fits-all formula for investing, and different stocks work better in different portfolios. Further, the market is constantly changing, so the best stocks to own today may not be worth buying tomorrow.
But what are some great stocks you can buy right now? We asked four of our analysts to tell us about the stocks they think are the absolute best to own right now, and here's what they had to say.
In my opinion, the single best stock you can own is Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK-A) (NYSE:BRK-B). Simply put, buying Berkshire is like getting a well-diversified investment portfolio that's managed by some of the greatest minds in the investing world.
Berkshire offers the only way that you can invest in companies including Geico, NetJets, and more than 50 other fully owned subsidiaries, many of which are national brands. And Berkshire's stock portfolio is a long-term investor's dream, with such favorites as Johnson & Johnson, ExxonMobil, and Wells Fargo, just to name a few.
Further, I can't think of anyone I would trust more than Warren Buffett and his team of stock-pickers to invest my money wisely.
And it's hard to argue with Berkshire's track record, especially during bad times. Over the past 50 years, the S&P 500 has finished in the red 11 times, and Berkshire beat the index in every single one of those years. Berkshire's average annual return of nearly 20% over a 50-year time period is quite an accomplishment, and while past performance doesn't guarantee future investment results, I have no reason to believe that Berkshire's consistent outperformance will end anytime soon.
The key to successful long-term investing is identifying when short-term difficulties create opportunities for profitable investments. Despite all the troubles American Express (NYSE:AXP) is going through right now, I believe that its reputation remains healthy and that it has the ability to pull out of its tailspin and recover fully.
It's true that losing deals with Costco Wholesale and JetBlue will inflict some pain on American Express' short-term prospects, and the fact that the card pioneer was found to have violated antitrust laws in its dealings with merchants raises concerns about whether some retailers will keep accepting the company's cards. Yet American Express still has its luxury-oriented reputation, imparting an air of prosperity on its high-end customer base and allowing it to keep finding cardholders who are willing to pay hundreds of dollars in annual fees for its status-symbol card offerings. In the end, retail merchants would rather not risk alienating what could be their most successful customer relationships, and that should give American Express the leverage it needs to retain its competitive edge over the mainstream card offerings of its rivals. The stock may not recover overnight, but in the long run, American Express should still bank on its prestige to give investors good long-term returns.
Celgene markets a slate of top-selling cancer drugs, including the multiple myeloma drugs Revlimid and Pomalyst and the pancreatic cancer drug Abraxane. The company also launched its first autoimmune drug, Otezla, last year. Overall, Celgene's revenue grew 21% to $7.7 billion last year, but what makes me really excited about the company is its long-term growth forecast.
In January, Celgene issued guidance that calls for sales to climb to at least $20 billion by 2020. That means the company thinks its sales could jump 161% in the next five years! That alone could be the reason to own Celgene, but I also like that Celgene is already very profitable. The company expects that its adjusted operating margin will grow by 1.4% to 52% this year and that its adjusted EPS will climb from $3.71 in 2014 to between $4.60 and $4.75 this year. Toss in a rock-solid balance sheet that includes $7.5 billion in cash and marketable securities, and you can see why I'm such a fan of this biotech giant.
If I had to pick one stock to own today -- and hold for a lifetime -- it would be Google (NASDAQ:GOOG)(NASDAQ:GOOGL). Don't be scared away by the seemingly high $500-plus stock price, and don't fret too much over whether to buy Class A or Class C shares. Either way, you're getting a great company built for the long run at a fair price.
While some might shy away from investing in technology companies as buy-to-hold investments, Google has stood the test of time. The company became the leading global provider of search back in the early 2000s, and it has held that position ever since. In fact, renowned value investor and vice-chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Charlie Munger once said: "Google has a huge moat. In fact, I've probably never seen such a wide moat."
That means the company won't be going anywhere anytime soon. With the migration of advertising dollars toward desktop and mobile devices about to undergo a seismic shift, and billions of people around the world yet to come online, Google's ads are only becoming more valuable. That makes today's shares -- which trade for 21 times non-GAAP earnings -- more than fairly priced.
In fact, at such prices, you're essentially paying for the legacy search business and getting Google's moon shot businesses for just about nothing. That's a pretty good long-term deal if you ask me.