Constructing an investment portfolio takes time and patience. You would want to include companies that demonstrate a strong track record of growth and resilience and can hold their own during crises and downturns. These businesses should have clear catalysts for growth, as well as a large addressable market. These attributes will ensure they can reward you many times over as the businesses grow more valuable over time.
While growth should be top of mind, it's also important not to forget to diversify your exposure. Ideally, your portfolio should contain companies that have exposure to different regions and industries. This acts as a buffer in case an event threatens the prospects of any single industry. As an example, the airline, cruise, and travel industries have been badly impacted by the pandemic.
Here are three stocks you can consider building your portfolio around. All of them offer great long-term growth prospects and adequate diversification in terms of industry and geography.
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Visa (NYSE:V) is one of the world's largest financial services companies, with a total of around 3.5 billion Visa-branded cards in circulation around the world. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the shift from physical payments to digital ones, a trend that will greatly benefit Visa's business for many years to come.
Although transaction flow and cross-border payments volume should encounter weakness in the near term, because people may have lower spending power amid the crisis, this should gradually recover in the years ahead. Visa has been active in renewing and expanding partnerships with some of its largest clients such as French bank Groupe BPCE and Chunghwa Post, Taiwan's postal service.
CEO Alfred Kelly also mentioned on the most recent earnings conference call that the company is beefing up its role in the business-to-business (B2B) space, with an agreement for B2B virtual cards with ICBC, the largest bank in China. Visa has also teamed up with Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) on a new payments feature in WhatsApp in Brazil allowing users to send and receive money, as well as make purchases from small businesses. All these initiatives, along with acquisitions of fintech companies such as Plaid, should enable Visa to post decent growth in years ahead.
American Tower (NYSE:AMT) owns and operates network communication towers, which it leases to wireless service and data providers. The company is structured as a real estate investment trust (REIT) and has to pay out 90% of its annual taxable income. Investors in American Tower can not only benefit from the regular and increasing dividend payments (rising by around 20% per year, on average), but also enjoy growth in the REIT's underlying portfolio of towers as it embarks on opportunistic acquisitions.
Owning a slice of American Tower is akin to participating in the transition from 4G to 5G networks. The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted more people and businesses to adopt online and digital practices than ever before, and should accelerate the usage of smartphones and other devices. American Tower's tenants will, over time, continue with new 5G network deployments on their leased infrastructure, thereby boosting the REIT's return on invested capital and rental income. This migration from 4G to 5G could take five to 10 years and should provide incremental recurring income for investors.
Chipotle Mexican Grill
Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE:CMG) is one of the leading fast-casual restaurant chains, serving a mix of Mexican food such as burritos and tacos. Although Chipotle had to temporarily halt dining-in due to lockdowns and movement restriction orders imposed in many countries, it continued to leverage on its digital platform to sell its food products.
In the second quarter, the company's revenue dipped slightly — by 4.8% year over year to $1.4 billion. Excluding the impact of asset impairments and closures, adjusted net income would have been $11.4 million, down significantly from $91 million in the prior-year period. This quarter would have been tough for any food and beverage retailer, but Chipotle has fared better than most.
Because of the investments that management had made over the last two years on growing its digital presence, digital sales rose 216% year over year and made up close to 61% of total sales. Comparable-store sales have continued to show improvements, too, from negative 24.4% in April to positive 6.4% so far in July. With less competition for high-quality sites as other businesses hold back, the company plans to accelerate its expansion plans in 2021.
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