There’s nothing novel about this pick. McDonald’s (MCD) is one of the most recognizable brands on the planet, and one of the most consistent dividend payers out there — the MCD payout has improved every single year since the company first started writing checks in 1976.
Yet despite this titan’s size — the fast-food company is worth $100 billion by market capitalization and did $27 billion in revenues last year — McDonald’s is extremely nimble. For decades, it has tinkered and tweaked its menu not only to American consumer tastes, but numerous international palates, too … plus it also adjusts well to global food price trends. (The McRib isn’t a permanent fixture for a reason, you know.)
That’s the kind of flexibility that not only will keep you around in perpetuity, but will keep the money rolling in — the company boasted nearly $4 billion in free cash flow in 2012, and MCD currently sits on $1.9 billion in cash and short-term investments.