Five Stocks Every Long-Term Investor Should Own

This article was written with Oliver Pursche, the Co-Portfolio Manager of GMG Defense Beta Fund. It was part of a series of articles developed under an agreement with to work with a variety of contributors and assist them in delivering actionable investment ideas each week. The site, is one of the top 500 sites in the world with nearly 10 million subscribers and nearly 100 million page views a month.

After a near 10% gain since the beginning of the year, stocks are starting to show some volatility again. Although there is nothing new to the worries about the proposed Greek debt settlement, slow-down in China, recession in Europe or uneven recovery in the United States, investors are still fearful of a repeat of 2008.

Here are five stocks I believe should be part of a core holding strategy for every long-term investor with an eye on capital appreciation. They offer upside, and with relatively conservative capital structures, some protection on the downside.

McDonald’s (MCD): Although the stock is near its all time high, the valuation is still attractive. McDonald’s has not missed earnings forecast in 16 quarters, and is projecting 8% growth in 2012. The company has very strong performance in the Emerging Markets, as well as Europe and the United States; the management team has a great handle on what each region and culture is looking for in a McDonalds menu.

Procter & Gamble (PG): A solid dividend, defensive stock that boasts a good growth rate. Revenue growth of more than 7% is expected, while operating margins continue to expand. The company’s ability to consistently generate strong cash flow makes it attractive in a mixed economic environment and makes it shine in good times.

Microsoft (MSFT): Although the stock has already risen sharply, there is still plenty of room to grow. Much like its rival Apple, MSFT also has an enormous cash horde on hand, nearly $52 billion as of its’ last quarterly filing.However, MSFT pays an attractive dividend and is gaining sales momentum.

For the past two quarters, the software maker and owner of Skype has beaten earnings forecasts and looks to build on the strength. Speculation about the “death of the PC” has been around for a decade. However, the fact remains that good old MSFT has a 77% share in the market for operating systems. This makes MSFT—often overlooked and under appreciated—attractive.

PepsiCo (PEP): An underperformer so far in 2012, this dividend darling boasts impressive sales growth. PepsiCo is the global leader is snack sales, gaining market share in Asia and is expanding its operating margins above 14%. The potential spin off of the snack unit combined with a strong history of increasing dividends makes this a timely investment.

Chevron (CVX): If you believe higher energy prices are part of the future, Chevron should be a clear winner in this scenario. With a strong dividend, great growth prospects and trading at a discount to its historical P/E, Chevron should get your motor running.

If investors have learned one thing over the past four years, I hope it’s that nothing is more painful, or crippling to wealth creation than loss of principal. While it’s nice to think about the doubles and triples, the fact is you will generally earn more runs with singles than you will swinging for the fences.

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