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7 of the Best Long-Term Stocks to Buy and Hold | Investing

Equity investors continually face three difficult challenges: what stocks to buy, when to buy them and when to sell them. Because speculative stocks are very risky and short-term market movements are practically impossible to predict, one of the best investment methods is to pick high-quality stocks and hold them over the long term.

The ultimate investing strategy is to buy at the bottom of bear markets and sell at the top of bull markets. This is obviously much easier said than done. Market timing is extremely difficult even for portfolio managers and professional traders who are experts and analyze the markets every business day. The task is nearly impossible for the average retail investor.

Instead of attempting to time a volatile stock market, most investors would be better off using a more passive buy-and-hold approach. A large percentage of a stock’s annual total return can come in just a few trading days when, for instance, good news or exceptionally positive sentiment unexpectedly drives a stock higher. Holding stocks for the long run can help ensure that you’re in the market during bull runs and you don’t miss out on a stock’s biggest days.

If you’re ready for a long-term investment strategy and to earn higher total returns with a high-quality, stable portfolio, here is a list of seven of the best long-term stocks to buy today and hold for the long run:

Long-Term Stock Forward Dividend Yield
VF Corp. (ticker: VFC) 3.0%
Roper Technologies Inc. (ROP) 0.6%
Illinois Tool Works Inc. (ITW) 2.3%
Dover Corp. (DOV) 1.1%
Abbott Laboratories (ABT) 2.1%
Chubb Ltd. (CB) 1.4%
Chevron Corp. (CVX) 4.2%

Founded in 1889, Denver-based VFC is one of the largest apparel and footwear companies in the world. The company has assembled a diverse and valuable portfolio of very popular global brands that includes The North Face, Timberland, Vans, Dickies and Jansport.

Its marketing efforts are concentrated on consumers who enjoy an active, outdoor lifestyle. Although their brands are iconic, they are promoted as being more authentic and less pretentious.

VFC has a market cap of over $4.6 billion. Wall Street estimates the company will generate more than $10 billion in revenue this year, and the company pays a 3% dividend to boot.

The apparel business is notoriously volatile; inflation and the economy greatly affect consumer behavior. Investors should be prepared for financial hits and misses as well as ups and downs in the stock price. Nevertheless, based on the strength of its brands and positioning in the marketplace, VFC is an excellent stock to consider as a long-term hold – especially if you’re truly patient and willing to wait out a recovery from VFC’s 52-week lows.

Roper Technologies Inc. (ROP)

ROP is an industrial technology company that’s based in Sarasota, Florida and has been in business since 1981. The company designs, develops, manufactures and sells a large variety of high-tech, engineered products and software solutions to its commercial clients worldwide.

ROP serves the health care industry through its Sunquest Information Systems division, law firms and the legal data industry through its Aderant Business Management segment and the transportation and freight industry through its TransCore and DAT Solutions brands.

When it comes to financial performance, Roper has a solid and consistent track record of revenue and earnings generation. Wall Street consensus estimates are calling for about 9% earnings growth in both fiscal 2024 and fiscal 2025. Revenue estimates are similarly optimistic, calling for 12% and 7.1% growth in 2024 and 2025, respectively. Those numbers are quite impressive for a mature company with a market cap topping $58 billion.

Additionally, ROP has a forward annual dividend of $3 a share which works out to a modest yield of 0.6%.

Illinois Tool Works Inc. (ITW)

ITW has all the characteristics of an excellent long-term stock holding. This $72 billion Glenview, Illinois, company has been around for 112 years. The stock is one of less than 70 securities that can call itself a member of the Dividend Aristocrats. To be a Dividend Aristocrat, a company must be a component of the S&P 500 and have raised its dividend for at least 25 consecutive years. ITW stock currently offers a 2.3% yield.

ITW manufactures a large selection of industrial tools, products and equipment. It’s an industry leader in making and distributing commercial welding equipment, manufactures kitchen and food preparation equipment, and is well known in the construction industry for its high-quality tools and fasteners.

In February, ITW reported 2023 full-year revenue of $16.1 billion. Analysts expect steady but moderate top- and bottom-line growth in both 2024 and 2025.

DOV is a premier, $25 billion specialty industrial machinery company. It’s classified as an industrial company but, because it offers software and digital solutions along with its more low-tech, consumable products, it could be considered a high-tech company as well.

The company was founded in 1947 and is based in the Chicago suburb of Downers Grove, Illinois. It has five main product and technology lines. It makes engineered products for aerospace and defense, fueling solutions for the transportation industry, imaging and identification for tracking inventory and packages, pumping solutions for the fluid and gasses industry, and refrigeration and food equipment that serves the food processing industry.

Analysts expect stable top- and bottom-line growth this year and next – plus, the company pays a modest 1.1% dividend and trades for a reasonable 18 times earnings.

Abbott Laboratories (ABT)

ABT is an established leader in the health care sector. The company develops and manufactures cutting-edge drugs, nutritional products, medical equipment and diagnostic equipment that it sells to hospitals and medical professionals around the world.

In addition to its name-brand portfolio of drugs and pharmaceutical treatments, ABT offers an extensive array of lower-cost, generic drugs to its customers. Another big driver of revenue and profit for the company is its flu vaccine. Doctors and patients all over the globe depend on ABT to put out a new and effective version of this vital vaccine every flu season.

The company is making a sustained push to gain a leadership position in the emerging science of immunotherapy. This is one of the most promising areas of medical science. The capital and effort ABT is dedicating to immunology is just one more reason the company is a great long-term stock.

Wall Street is looking for solid earnings growth from this $181 billion firm, with analysts expecting earnings per share to grow by 11% from 2024 to 2025.

Abbott also provides shareholders with a decent dividend yield of 2.1%.

CB is a $107 billion insurance provider. Investors building a diversified, long-term stock portfolio should consider CB as a core holding in the financial sector.

CB is a Swiss company that has been offering businesses and consumers insurance products for more than 140 years. While capable of underwriting almost any type of coverage, it specializes in life, property and casualty, accident and health, as well as large-volume reinsurance policies it offers to other companies in the insurance industry.

The company is well known and highly respected for its consistent financial performance and fiscal responsibility. CB has one of the strongest balance sheets in the insurance industry. Although it has a definite global presence, CB remains consumer-focused, priding itself on its customer service and the speed and efficiency with which it processes claims.

On May 16, the board of directors of CB approved a 5.8% increase in the stock’s dividend, which marked the 31st consecutive year of dividend growth. The annual dividend now stands at $3.64 and provides investors with a 1.4% yield.

CVX is a mega-cap energy company with a market cap of around $290 billion. Like several other stocks on this list, CVX is a member of the Dividend Aristocrats. In fact, the company has increased its dividend every year for 36 straight years. The stock now boasts a healthy yield of 4.2%.

CVX concentrates its commercial efforts in oil, natural gas and petroleum byproducts such as lubricants and petrochemicals. The company is prominent in the upstream, or exploration, and the downstream (refining, distribution and selling) segments of the energy industry.

At just 14 times earnings, investors don’t have to pay a hefty sum for Chevron and its sprawling global business. With roots going back to the 1870s and a future demand for energy all but certain, Chevron looks like the quintessential example of a solid buy-and-hold stock.

Read More: 7 of the Best Long-Term Stocks to Buy and Hold | Investing

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