7 Long-Term Stocks to Buy Now: May 2024


  • These seven long-term stocks to buy are excellent picks today.
  • McCormick (MKC): The spices and flavorings leader has a business that will never go out of fashion.
  • Brown Forman (BF-A, BF-B): This alcoholic spirits maker survived Prohibition and continues to be a rock-solid business today.
  • Visa (V): The move away from cash and toward cards and digital payments is a huge long-term trend.
  • Read on for more long-term stocks to buy now!
Long-Term Stocks to Buy - 7 Long-Term Stocks to Buy Now: May 2024

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On a day-to-day basis, the stock market can do almost anything. Short-term returns tend to be highly volatile and quite random in nature. One day meme stocks can skyrocket and the next day, an unexpected piece of economic data can cause the stock market to tank. Many people compare the stock market to a casino, and not without some merit.

In the bigger picture, however, stocks tend to be more predictable. As the overall economy grows in size and companies generate higher levels of earnings, it tends to lead to rising stock prices and dividend payouts.

For investors with some patience and willingness to hold companies over the long haul, the stock market has been proven to be a reliable way to generate wealth. These seven long-term stocks to buy, in particular, have excellent track records and operate in businesses and industries that should continue to prosper for many years to come.

McCormick (MKC)

McCormick & Company spices lined up on a grocery store shelf.
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McCormick (NYSE:MKC) is the dominant leader within the U.S. spices and seasonings market.

Unlike many packaged food companies, McCormick faces surprisingly little competition. It controls an estimated 40% to 60% market share in its primary categories, coming in at more than double that of its nearest branded competitor. It is also a leading producer of store-brand spices, meaning consumers often choose between a McCormick bottle of spice or a McCormick-manufactured store-brand alternative.

This quasi-monopoly position has made McCormick a tremendous long-term investment. MKC stock has risen more than 8,000% over the past 40 years.

Past returns are no guarantee of future results, however. To keep its growth streak going, McCormick has expanded its product line-up. It now has a leading position in producing flavors and seasonings for restaurants and institutional kitchens. Furthermore, McCormick is making deals, such as its acquisitions including Frank’s and Cholula in the hot sauce space.

McCormick is one of the companies least prone to technological disruption. Humans love tasty food, and if anything, younger consumers are more interested in cooking, international cuisines and unique flavors than ever before. McCormick’s dominant market position in a timeless business makes it a wonderful long-term holding.

Brown-Forman (BF-A, BF-B)

Person holding cellphone with logo of American spirits company Brown-Forman (BF-B) Corporation on screen in front of webpage. Focus on phone display. Unmodified photo.
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Brown-Forman (NYSE:BF-A, NYSE:BF-B) is one of America’s leading alcoholic spirits companies. Founded in 1870, the company even managed to survive America’s nearly 14-year alcohol prohibition period.

Brown-Forman is most well-known for its Jack Daniels whiskey. Under Brown-Forman’s ownership, Jack Daniels has grown from a small regional brand to a global powerhouse. The company is also rolling out far more expensive premium brands such as Woodford Reserve; the future for the spirits industry isn’t primarily in selling more alcohol but rather in selling much higher-quality alcohol.

The company isn’t just whiskey, either. Brown-Forman’s Casa Herradura tequila acquisition in 2007 looks particularly shrewd. Tequila has gone on to become a fast-growing spirit in the North American market, one where premium and super-premium products are now gaining appeal.

The final element of the long-term story is ownership. The Brown family continues to control the company via ownership of the A-class shares, which have voting rights. That structure protects Brown-Forman from takeovers and allows this long-term stock to buy to keep delivering outsized returns on a generational timeframe.

Visa (V)

several Visa branded credit cards
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Visa (NYSE:V) has returned to form. The company has been one of the best long-term large-cap stocks in America over time.

But its rise was temporarily disrupted during the pandemic. V stock slipped as it lost out on its most profitable transactions, the cross-border ones that involve currency exchange.

Additionally, a surge in FinTech companies and cryptocurrency and blockchain back in 2021 created the idea that there would be much more competition to credit card networks. Fast forward to 2024, however, and almost all these issues have been alleviated.

The global economy has largely returned to form, with international travel enjoying an especially swift recovery. Meanwhile, the FinTech sector has struggled to maintain its momentum and has barely impacted results for Visa or Mastercard (NYSE:MA). Similarly, while cryptocurrency remains interesting for trading purposes, so far no killer app has emerged within crypto that would meaningfully disrupt Visa.

Over the long term, people will continue shifting more transactions from cash to credit and digital payments; that’s especially true in developing countries. As inflation works its way through the global economy, transaction sizes grow, which naturally lifts Visa’s revenues and earnings. All this makes Visa a highly reliable long-term stock to own.

Ecolab (ECL)

Ecolab (ECL) logo on its corporate headquarters building.
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Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) is the world’s largest cleaning and sanitation company. It aims to be a one-stop shop for its customers, offering cleaning supplies and chemicals, pest control, water treatment and related services.

The company realized early on that it could acquire a nearly unlimited number of mom-and-pop cleaning and sanitation shops. It has been rolling up the industry for decades, assembling a global sanitation and water treatment empire. To that point, Ecolab has been one of the best stocks for long-term investment, with shares rising more than 15,000% over the past 40 years.

The growth story is far from over. Though Ecolab is the industry leader, it only has an estimated 9% of the total $152 billion global market. That means Ecolab can continue running its M&A playbook for many years to come.

Ecolab was hit hard during the pandemic as key customers like restaurants, hotels, cruise ships and so on lost business. But with the global economy roaring back to life, Ecolab has enjoyed a rapid recovery amid dramatic margin expansion. Simply put, this long-term stock champion is back to full health and is ready to reward shareholders once again.

Lockheed Martin (LMT)

A Lockheed Martin (LMT) Space Systems sign in Sunnyvale, California.
Source: Ken Wolter / Shutterstock.com

Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) is one of the world’s largest defense contractors.

Known for its fighter jet program, Lockheed Martin offers a wide array of defensive hardware that helps support almost all types of modern combat. In addition, the company has built an attractive space and satellite business that generates about $12 billion in annual revenues.

LMT stock sold off in 2021 when the U.S. pulled forces out of Afghanistan, and some analysts felt this would lead to a fall in defense spending. Regrettably, however, global tensions swiftly mounted. First, there was Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and more recently, there has been conflict in the Middle East.

Besides those active conflicts, tensions have also mounted between the U.S. and China over trade disputes and Taiwan’s political status. All this should lead to outsized defense sector spending in coming years. Lockheed Martin’s space business offers another reason for optimism with this long-term stock to buy.

Dentsply Sirona (XRAY)

A concept image of a doctor holding up an X-Ray.
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Dentsply Sirona (NASDAQ:XRAY) is a leading producer of dental equipment and supplies.

The company built its fortunes from its dental CAD/CAM (computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing) systems. These CAD systems allow dentists and orthodontists to design customized tailored solutions for patients at the chairside, rather than having to refer work out to a third-party lab.

In addition, the rise of digital dentistry more broadly has been a huge tailwind for the industry. It makes it easier and cheaper to perform cosmetic work, thus expanding the addressable market. Dentsply Sirona, with its leading CAD/CAM tools, has held a first-mover advantage.

XRAY stock has underperformed in recent years. The dental market slowed down during the pandemic — it seems that masking and being stuck at home somewhat impacted demand for cosmetic dentistry. There has also been mounting competition in the market, as often happens when a field enjoys rapid growth.

These factors have pushed XRAY stock down to just 13 times forward earnings, and analysts see earnings returning to double-digit annualized growth going forward. That, combined with the aging population, which will likely consume far more cosmetic dentistry services, should make XRAY stock a great long-term holding.

Dollar General (DG)

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Discount retailer Dollar General (NYSE:DG) has had a rough past couple of years. Dollar General’s stock price collapsed as revenue growth tailed off. Management blamed economic weakness among its core working-class consumer base for the business slowdown. While the economy is still growing, there are real signs of trouble for many Americans, and that has been reflected in results for discount retailers.

The business has had other issues as well. Investigative reports highlighted potentially unsafe working conditions at some Dollar General stores. The company has also struggled to maintain fully-staffed stores at times amid the labor shortage of the past few years.

However, these concerns should work themselves out in time. The economy appears to be decelerating now, which will clear up the labor shortages. And while Dollar General’s core shoppers are facing economic strain right now, a more prolonged economic downturn should cause some more affluent consumers to trade down from pricier stores to Dollar General.

There is another reason for optimism. A rival, 99 Cents Only, shut down in April, with 371 stores being liquidated. That improves Dollar General’s competitive positioning within the industry and sets it up to take market share and grow sales, especially once the next recession begins.

On the date of publication, Ian Bezek held a long position in DG, XRAY, LMT, ECL, MKC, BF-B and V stock. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.

Ian Bezek has written more than 1,000 articles for InvestorPlace.com and Seeking Alpha. He also worked as a Junior Analyst for Kerrisdale Capital, a $300 million New York City-based hedge fund. You can reach him on Twitter at @irbezek.

Article printed from InvestorPlace Media, https://investorplace.com/2024/05/7-long-term-stocks-to-buy-now-may-2024/.

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