On Wall Street, there’s no shortage of high-risk, high-reward stocks offering both large upside and the potential for catastrophic losses. However, there are also more established companies that, while still carrying risk, offer the potential for more stable long-term returns.
Long-Term Stocks To Buy and Hold
As of January 2023, here are seven of the best options for those looking to own stocks for the long run.
1. United Healthcare (UNH)
- Price: $486
- Market Cap: $460.363 billion
United Healthcare is likely the most defensive stock on this list of long-term stocks to hold. When the economy slows, investors often shift away from high-growth stocks to those in traditionally defensive industries like utilities and healthcare.
United Healthcare is the largest healthcare company in the U.S. and Canada by a large margin, with a 14.47% market share as of 2021, nearly double that of 2nd-place Kaiser. The stock actually posted a small gain of 2.84% in 2022, right in the midst of a bear market that dragged down the S&P 500 index by 20%. But this is par for the course, as UNH has a long-term record of consistent stock price gains. As a kicker, the shares also pay out a 1.35% dividend.
2. Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-A)
- Price: $479,420.00 (BRK-A)
- Market Cap: $701.149 billion (BRK-A)
Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway operates across several business segments, holding several subsidiary companies, from private and commercial insurance — GEICO and Berkshire Hathaway Primary Group — to manufacturing — building, industrial and consumer products — to service, retailing and food distribution, as well as a broad range of consumer products.
Many investors are also drawn to Berkshire Hathaway’s core business practices, strategies and investments. As of early 2023, Buffet’s company has stakes in several large, successful enterprises, owning 20.3% of American Express, 12.9% of Bank of America Corp. and 5.8% of Apple, among others.
With its massive influence on multiple industries and its value-boosting strategic investments, Berkshire Hathaway is among the best long-term stocks to invest in. And if the nearly $500,000 price point is a little high for you, consider investing in its BRK-B shares at a friendlier $300-range price.
3. Costco (COST)
- Price: $481.40
- Market Cap: $213.86 billion
Costco may be a retailer, but it has long-term staying power. Costco’s unique “treasure hunt” shopping experience — and its vaunted low prices — keep shoppers coming back in droves. Just to shop at the store, customers need to pay an annual fee of either $60 or $120, which accounts for a large — and recurring — portion of Costco’s revenue.
In its most recent quarter, renewals in the U.S. and Canada came in at an impressive 92.5% clip. Costco also posted sales gains of 15.4% in Q4 2022, reflecting its ability to take market share in all environments. Yet, the stock still fell about 20% in 2022, perhaps offering long-term investors an attractive entry point.
4. Alphabet (GOOG)
- Price: $89.24
- Market Cap: $1.181 trillion
Founded in 2015, Google’s parent company Alphabet is a multinational technology conglomerate that operates brands such as Android and Chrome. Regarded as a high-margin business and top player in the search engine industry, Alphabet has long been considered among the best long-term investments.
It has one of the healthiest balance sheets of any company, reporting more than $359.2 billion in total assets to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in 2022, with only $107.6 billion in total liabilities. Despite Alphabet’s ongoing litigation issues and growing competition, many experts say the popularity of its established products, such as the Google search engine, YouTube and other growth opportunities, like its Cloud service, make it among the best long-term stocks to buy.
You can buy GOOG or GOOGL stock for Alphabet at similar price points.
5. Microsoft (MSFT)
- Price: $228.85
- Market Cap: $1.745 trillion
Microsoft is one of the largest providers of software, devices and technology services globally. The company operates through various business segments, including personal computing, cloud computing services and business processes.
A market capitalization that stands a little under $2 trillion, strong cash flows and a dividend yield of 1.22% make MSFT a good long-term pick. It’s an excellent defensive growth stock backed by the company’s solid business model.
6. Apple (AAPL)
- Price: $130.73
- Market Cap: $2.111 trillion
Global tech giant Apple constantly develops and manufactures smartphones and computers that are in high demand. That demand coupled with strong, reliable financials is what makes AAPL among the best long-term stocks to invest in.
Anyone who invested $100 in AAPL shares in January 2018 would have seen a handsome return by the start of 2023, with the company’s stock value increasing by nearly over 200% during that five-year period. In 2020 alone, the value of AAPL stock grew by nearly 138%.
Solid financials, stellar stock performance, new investments in the cloud and a stream of new products that draw huge customer demand are a few reasons why AAPL is an excellent long-term investment.
7. Amazon (AMZN)
- Price: $89.87
- Market Cap: $959.929 billion
Amazon is the undisputed king of online retailing, but there’s a lot more to the company than even this impressive title. Some 74% of Amazon’s operating profit comes from Amazon Web Services, which is the company’s cloud services division.
The start of 2023 offers a rare opportunity for long-term investors to pick up shares of the web giant at a sizable discount, as the stock fell about 40% in 2022. Analysts find the stock a compelling option, with a consensus “strong buy” rating on the stock and a 12-month price target about 53% above current levels.
Stocks are a good option for those looking for long-term investments, because they have performed better historically when compared to other assets such as bonds. However, stocks are more volatile than conservative investments like bonds, as well.
Those looking to gain exposure to the higher earning potential of stocks while dampening risk can consider more defensive, long-term stocks rather than the more volatile speculative stocks favored by short-term traders. Depending on your investment objectives, you might also want to diversify your portfolio with lower-risk investments.
Long-Term Investment FAQEven experienced investors want to change up their investment strategies occasionally. While short-term stocks are suitable for those who can tolerate high risk, a long-term strategy is a better option for many. Here are some answers to some frequently asked questions about long-term stocks to invest in.
- Which stocks are best for long-term?
- These seven stocks are among the best long-term investments you can make:
- 1. United Healthcare
- 2. Berkshire Hathaway
- 3. Costco
- 4. Alphabet
- 5. Microsoft
- 6. Apple
- 7. Amazon
- Ultimately, the best stock for you to invest in depends on your portfolio and risk tolerance.
- What is the safest long-term stock?
- While all investing comes with risk, the safest stocks to buy are those of established companies with strong track records and growth, like Alphabet, Apple and the others listed here.
Allison Johnson contributed to the reporting for this article.
Prices are accurate as of market closing on Jan. 10, 2023.
Our in-house research team and on-site financial experts work together to create content that’s accurate, impartial, and up to date. We fact-check every single statistic, quote and fact using trusted primary resources to make sure the information we provide is correct. You can learn more about GOBankingRates’ processes and standards in our editorial policy.
- NYU Stern. "Historical Returns on Stocks, Bonds and Bills: 1928-2021 - NYU Stern."
- National Association of Insurance Commissioners. 2022. "2021 Market Share Reports."
- CNN Business. "CNN Business."
- CNBC. "BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY PORTFOLIO TRACKER."
- Yahoo Finance. "Yahoo Finance."
- CNBC Make It. 2022. "Costco CFO says membership price hike is ‘a question of when, not if’."
- Seeking Alpha. 2022. "Costco tops comparable sales expectations."
- The Wall Street Journal. "Alphabet Inc. Cl C."
- Visual Capitalist. 2022. "AWS: Powering the Internet and Amazon’s Profits."
- Nasdaq. "AMZN Analyst Research."