|DAVOS/SWITZERLAND, 27JAN10 - George Soros, Chairman, Soros Fund Management, USA, captured during the session 'Rebuilding Economics' of the Annual Meeting 2010 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 27, 2010 at the Congress Centre. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Austin, Jun.4, stock stock .- Last week, I told you about the simple strategy that's never lost money.
Put simply, the longer you hold an investment, the better your chances of making a profit. The S&P 500 has never had a losing 20-year span, going all the way back to the 1950s.
The key is finding a handful of companies that enjoy huge (and lasting) advantages over the competition... companies that pay their investors each and every year by dishing out fat dividends... and companies buying back massive amounts of their own stock.
Once you find them, the strategy is simple -- just buy their shares and hold "Forever."
Yesterday, I ran a simple stock screen on my research team's Bloomberg terminal. I asked this piece of research software to show me all the stocks in the United States that have returned more than 500% in the past year. And to weed out the fly-by-night micro-cap stocks, I had it return only stocks with a market cap above $250 million.
You can see the results for yourself. It's just 14 stocks. That's the definition of trying to find a needle in a haystack.
In fact, I bet you've never even heard of any of these stocks, save for once-troubled Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac... much less own any of them. Most are pink sheet stocks that are traded over-the-counter rather than on public exchanges.
But then I ran the exact same screen... only I changed the time period to the past 10 years. The results are night and day.
Over the last 10 years, 310 stocks returned more than 500%... More than 22 times as many as the past year.
That's because the market's greatest stocks -- not the extremely risky plays that skyrocket and crash seemingly overnight -- take years to reach their full potential.
They won't do it in one year... or even two or three years. But in the meantime, investors who hold these stocks are able to steadily compound their gains year in and year out.
Take a well-known case -- Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL). Apple has been one of the market's best performers for years.
Even in the stock's best one-year period, investors made 202%.
I wouldn't sneeze at a 202% gain, but anyone who bought for a year... or an even shorter time... sold themselves short.
You can see from my chart that Apple wasn't done after six months or a year...
Sure Apple has pulled back recently, but those who held "Forever" are still up big time.
Since 2003, Apple has gained well over 6,000%, including dividends. That's an average annual gain of 49% and enough to turn every $100 invested into $12,000.
Now you can see why buying the right stocks and holding "Forever" is the best way I've found to earn 4-digit gains.
Investing for a short period in a stock like Apple is like ordering a 7-course meal and only sticking around for the appetizer. Sure you get a taste... but wouldn't you rather have the whole meal?
And yet, as I told you last week, the average holding period for a stock is now down to just seven months.
I think that's a mistake. I'm not saying you should buy and hold every investment for decades. But what I've discovered -- and wish I had realized sooner -- is that it's the few investments you simply buy and hold "Forever" that make the biggest difference to your long-term wealth.
It's one of the reasons my Top 10 Stocks staff and I started researching the best stocks we think investors can hold "Forever."
What we found was that many of the stocks we tagged as "Forever" ideas were already owned by many of the world's richest investors, politicians, and businessmen -- including Warren Buffett, George Soros, and John Kerry.
You'll can find all the details in a free presentation I just put together called "The 10 Best Stocks to Hold Forever." Visit this link to watch right now..