3 No-Nonsense S&P 500 Stocks to Buy and Hold Forever


  • Don’t get scared out of owning excellent stocks because the market crashed.
  • Booking Holdings (BKNG): The leading online travel agent has a broad network of properties to tap into.
  • Nvidia (NVDA): AI is still in its infancy and will drive the premier chipmaker.
  • McKesson (MCK): The medical products and prescription distributor still offers a compelling value.
S&P 500 Stocks - 3 No-Nonsense S&P 500 Stocks to Buy and Hold Forever

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There is no end in sight to the stock market’s latest bull run. These S&P 500 stocks keep rising, hitting new all-time highs. 

Although we intuitively know that eventually we will see a correction, or the stocks might crash into a bear market, they are relatively short-lived events. The average bear market lasts about 16 months while bull markets are measured in years. Even better, they also tend to go on and wipe out all remnants of the losses.

It is why investors should have a long-term mindset. Understand these setbacks are a part of the investing cycle and don’t get scared into selling your S&P 500 stocks. Because no one can perfectly time entry and exit points consistently, buy-and-hold is the best investing strategy you can adopt.

Even with the stock market’s rise there are still excellent companies to buy. Below are three of the top S&P 500 stocks for your portfolio today.

Booking Holdings (BKNG)

The home page of the Internet booking of hotels booking.com on the screen the Chinese Xiaomi smartphone in male hand on a computer monitor. BKNG stock.
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Booking Holdings (NASDAQ:BKNG) is the leading global online travel agent via its platforms including Booking.com, Agoda, Priceline.com and Kayak. It also offers car rentals through Rentalcars.com and restaurant reservations through OpenTable.

By having an extensive network of properties in almost every country around the world, Booking Holdings is able to attract more travelers seeking accommodations, rentals and more. Although the global pandemic crimped travel for many countries, especially those in Asia and Europe who imposed extreme travel restrictions, that is now largely a thing of the past.

Global room nights increased 17% in 2023 from the year before and are now 24% above 2019 pre-pandemic levels. Relaxation of travel regulations has also allowed the booking window to expand, which benefited year-over-year room night growth.

Although it was feared demand would falter as pent up pandemic”revenge travel” subsided, that has not been the case. People still want to travel and they are turning to Booking Holdings properties to find their destination.

BKNG stock is up 45% over the past year and as travel demand grows, its business will expand. Booking Holdings is an S&P 500 stock to buy for the long-term.

Nvidia (NVDA)

Nvidia (NVDA) company logo displayed on mobile phone screen
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Chipmaker Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) needs no introduction. As the premiere artificial intelligence (AI) stock on the market, Nvidia has led the technology boom surrounding it. There is no let up in its rapid growth pace on the horizon.

That’s because Nvidia is constantly innovating. While its H100 chip had been the gateway to AI for many businesses, demand from data scalers for more power led to Nvidia introducing the H200. That recently just gave way to the Grace Blackwell superchip that is twice as powerful as the H200.

Although lesser companies might have been comfortable with that, Nvidia was not. Just ahead of the Computex tech conference in Taipei, CEO Jensen Huang revealed yet another new AI chip architecture, Rubin. Mind you, the Grace Blackwell chip hasn’t even shipped yet — is still in production. 

Nvidia is accelerating its rate of innovation as competition heats up. There can be no let up in advancing the technology, because, like a shark, if it stops moving it dies. NVDA continues to move too and its shares, which just split 10-to-1, are in a seesaw battle with Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) as the second most-valuable company. 

NVDA stock isn’t cheap, but because AI technology is still in its infancy, this is an S&P 500 stock to lock up for the long run.

McKesson (MCK)

A photo of The McKesson Canada lawn sign
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There is an investment saying that goes, “What the king sells, I buy.” It refers to times when the government privatizes business making for good investment opportunities. Well, Warren Buffet is the king of investing and when he completely sold down his stake in pharmaceutical and surgical supplies distributor McKesson (NYSE:MCK) last year, I said it was time to buy.

Following that advice would have been a good call. MCK is up almost 50% in the last 12 months compared to a 25% gain by the S&P 500. I didn’t quite understand Buffett’s decision at the time because the medical supplies distributor offered an excellent value. MCK went for just 13 times earnings estimates, a tiny fraction of its sales, and a bargain 12 times the free cash flow it produces. While it has improved substantially since then, McKesson still represents a good deal.

It is one of the country’s largest distributors and is seeing tremendous demand, especially for pharmaceuticals. That is primarily because of demand for GLP-1 drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy that are providing a significant tailwind. Revenue from the drug class surged 24% year over year.

As there is no let up for these treatments, and with numerous similar drugs coming to market, look for McKesson stock to have substantial near-term growth potential. But the medical products business has long tail potential as well, making McKesson an S&P 500 stock to buy.

On the date of publication, Rich Duprey did not hold (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.

Rich Duprey has written about stocks and investing for the past 20 years. His articles have appeared on Nasdaq.com, The Motley Fool, and Yahoo! Finance, and he has been referenced by U.S. and international publications, including MarketWatch, Financial Times, Forbes, Fast Company, USA Today, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Cheddar News, The Boston Globe, L’Express, and numerous other news outlets.

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