This December the chances of a Santa Clause rally are looking thin, so it’s worth stuffing your portfolio with long-term stocks that will deliver in the new year and beyond. Picking a buy-and-hold stock can be a big responsibility because it means you’re willing to wait out some ups and downs along the way. That’s why it pays to choose a company that’s financially fit with a strong growth story for the future.
One important place to look for ongoing returns is dividends. Companies with mature businesses will often share out some of their profits with investors and reinvest the rest into future growth. Growth is an important factor as well when it comes to the top long-term stocks. You want a business that is offering something that will be in demand for years to come, so stay away from the latest fad or fashion.
Finally, its worth getting a feel for management. Ideally, you want a leadership team that stays the course and doesn’t make erratic decisions. Too much showboating, or on the opposite end of the spectrum, a lack of transparency, can be detrimental to the long-term success of the company.
American Electric Power (AEP)
American Electric Power (NASDAQ:AEP) is a utility stock that is worth watching if you’re on the hunt for long-term stocks. The company owns and operates the largest electricity transmissions system in the country, supplying power across the U.S. Not only is the group responsible for sending electricity to homes everywhere, it also generates the power flowing through those cables. This integrated model allows for lots of efficiency, which translates into affordable power.
Given the group’s revenues are relatively predictable, its able to offer up a dividend over 4%, and counting. The group’s shown its keen to increase dividend payouts where possible. While AEP isn’t going to deliver out-of-this-word growth, the benefits of reinvesting your dividends over time will pay off in the long-term, making it a worthwhile pick for buy-and-hold investors.
British American Tobacco (BTI)
Another dividend stock that should top your list of long-term stocks is British American Tobacco (NYSE:BTI). There are many people who will never invest in a tobacco company, which creates some risk for holders of BTI. But ultimately the business is a cash-generating machine, and there’s likely to be plenty of upside ahead.
Selling an addictive product means BTI’s customers are some of the least price sensitive out there. The group’s revenue is relatively reliable, and it’s been able to pass on rising costs to consumers without hurting volumes too much. Thanks to all the cash flowing through the business, the group’s got more than enough capacity to pay its 10% dividend yield.
Importantly, the market for cigarettes is declining. This is a problem BTI will eventually have to face. But, it’s working to convert smokers to healthier alternatives in a bid to pivot the business. The path ahead for this part of the business is unclear, but the group has plenty of time to position itself as a market leader as regulations develop around the use of vapes and e-cigarettes.
Apple has long been at the top of everyone’s long-term stocks list, and for good reason. The group revolutionized mobile phones with the iPhone and has established itself as a market leader when it comes to the hottest new tech. But the group’s over-reliance on iPhones in the past has led investors to hesitate when it comes to Apple stock. However the group appears to have firmly pivoted it’s business toward more recurring revenues.
Notably, the group’s latest results came with disappointing hardware figures and investors responded by stepping away from the stock. However the bright light was progress in the services arm. That arm of the business includes things like the Appstore and Apple Music. This higher margin part of the business is the future for Apple, and growth here suggests the past quarter is no more than a bump in the road.
On the date of publication, Marie Brodbeck held BTI. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.