ROCKVILLE, Md. — Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu wrote, “If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.” That’s advice for investing as much as it is advice for life.
Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) CEO Reed Hastings got the memo on this. Yes, the pricing change and “apology” were a PR disaster. Yes, the dual interface is inconvenient for customers and simply a way to spin off and sell Qwikster as soon as possible. But at least Hastings didn’t just content himself with riding Netflix into the ground.
Unfortunately, as AOL (NYSE:AOL) has painfully proven to us during the past few years, recognizing the expiration date on your first great idea does not guarantee you a second act. There are serious doubts about how Netflix can find its way in the streaming video space.
If you’re looking for long-term investments in this market, then, which picks are keeping up with the time? What stocks can you rely on to evolve and lead the market a decade from now, rather than get left behind?
Here are three such investments for the buy-and-hold crowd to consider:
Crude oil is the lifeblood of the global economy, and though demand waxes and wanes in the short term, the long-term trend is clearly upward. Consider that global energy use is expected to jump 53% by 2035, largely driven by strong demand from places like India and China, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
That means the companies with the biggest oil fields will see the biggest profit as demand soars and supplies dwindle. And it doesn’t get any bigger than Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM).
Lest you think Exxon is contenting itself with its current stockpile of oil reserves, a few weeks ago we learned of a massive deal with Russia’s state-owned energy giant Rosneft Corp. The joint venture will hunt for oil in the Arctic Ocean that could tap into 2.2 billion to 7.2 billion barrels of new reserves.
On top of that, its $41 billion deal to buy natural gas giant XTO Energy was driven by the assumption that, eventually, crude oil will fall out of favor. Natural gas has been becoming increasingly favored because it is a cleaner-burning fossil fuel and because of massive shale gas fields in the Northeast United States.
Any way you slice it, Exxon is a leader in global energy production and is likely to stay there. Throw in a 2.5% dividend as a kicker, and this is a very good long-term buy.