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The Best Stocks to Hold Forever

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

A few months ago, I sent a report to readers of my Top 10 Stocks advisory covering my "10 Best Stocks to Hold Forever."

It's quickly becoming one of the most popular pieces of research in StreetAuthority's history.

Simply put, these are the 10 stocks that we think you can buy today and basically hold for the rest of your life.

When you own them, you don't have to worry about events such as inflation or deflation, bear markets or recessions... flash-crashes or rising interest rates.

Don't just take my word for it -- the numbers speak for themselves...

Since I went public with my 10 "Forever" stocks in mid-July,

-- They've returned 10.0% on average, compared with a 0.3% gain in the S&P 500.

-- Nine out of 10 are in the green, and our biggest winner is up 20.9%.

-- Seven are already showing double-digit returns.

-- Four have announced dividend increases.

I'm not telling you this to brag about my success as an analyst. My job is to help investors make money, so I want to show you why these stocks are outperforming... and what makes them worthy of their "Forever" status.

Before I go on though, let me be forthcoming by telling you I simply can't reveal my full list of 10 "Forever" ideas here. This wouldn't be fair to my Top 10 Stocks subscribers.

But if you want to find "Forever" stocks of your own, then you don't necessarily need my list.

There are plenty of "Forever stocks" that didn't make my list... and once you know what you're looking for, finding them is actually much easier than you would think.

See, on the surface the 10 "Forever stocks" that made my list don't have much in common. They don't target a specific industry, they vary in size and they have their own unique business models.

But dig deeper, and you'll find certain qualities that are synonymous with most of the "Forever" ideas.

First and foremost, these are companies that dominate their market.

Chasing high-flying tech start-ups might be profitable during a bull market, but those stocks are often the first to go when the market begins to heads south.

Instead, I prefer to invest in an established business that has PROVEN it can make itself, and its investors, a lot of money.

Take one of my "Forever" stocks Philip Morris (NYSE: PM) for example.

Philip Morris dominates the cigarette industry thanks to its ownership of seven of the world's top 15 brands, including Marlboro, the number one cigarette brand worldwide. It's not a complex business. And you don't need to be a hedge-fund manager to see why owning Philip Morris is likely to make you money.

Its dominant position in its market has led to huge gains for investors. And those gains all start with company profits.

Philip Morris' net profit margin stands at 28%. That means the company turns nearly a third of its revenue into pure profit. Most companies don't even come close to this. The average net profit margin for all members of the S&P 500 is 11%.

When you invest in world dominators like this, good things tend to happen.

But it's not enough for a company to just dominate its market to warrant it as a "Forever" stock. I also like to see companies reward investors by buying back stock and paying dividends.

Since being spun off from Altria (NYSE: MO) back in 2008, Philip Morris has bought back $20 billion worth of shares and paid $14 billion in dividends. It's raised its dividend 67%, and the stock is now paying DOUBLE the average dividend yield paid by the overall market.

Over time, these shareholder-friendly moves have led to exceptional market-beating returns.

Take a look below. Since the spin-off, Philip Morris has returned 80%. Meanwhile, the overall market has gone nowhere...

Action to Take --> It's simple. Investing in dominant firms like Philip Morris is likely to pay off handsomely. I've gained nearly 13% since I pegged the stock for my "10 Best Stocks to Hold Forever" report last July.

Of course, with investing there's never a surefire thing. There's no quality a company can possess that will guarantee its success. But by choosing dominant, shareholder-friendly companies, you're investing in proven companies with a commitment to making you wealthier. I can't think of a better long-term investment.

[Note: You can learn more about the rest of my "10 Best Stocks to Hold Forever" -- including several names and ticker symbols -- by viewing our latest research here.]

Paul Tracy owns shares of PM.
StreetAuthority LLC owns shares of PM in one or more if its “real money” portfolios.

This article originally appeared at www.streetauthority.com.

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