Finding stocks that can stand the test of time isn't easy. In fact, in the broad scope of publicly traded companies, these stocks are few and far between. When you consistently invest amid the highs and lows of the market, and every period in between, and only put your cash into great businesses that you understand, you will more likely build and sustain solid returns over time.
On that note, here are two fantastic stocks to buy and hold, even if the market veers back into bear territory this year.
Airbnb (NASDAQ: ABNB) hasn't slowed down for a second in a travel industry that's dealing with both recession fears and the complete unleashing of years of pent-up travel demand. There's no doubt that the return of cross-border and short-term travel have been drivers of Airbnb's recent streak of impressive financials, but there are other catalysts at work here too.
Airbnb is building out a platform and business that cater to the broad spectrum of travelers and travel needs, while also attracting hosts with a diverse range of stay offerings. This two-sided element is a key competitive advantage in any market environment. On the host side, Airbnb continues to introduce a range of tools and upgrades to make it more attractive than ever to list stays on its platform. It's launched a series of innovations through its AirCover program, such as boosted damage protection and guest identity screening.
Late last year the company launched Airbnb Setup, which allows new hosts to partner with Superhosts through the process of hosting their first listing, an initiative that management noted saw 20% more new active hosts recruited to the platform than before the launch. The company ended the year with 6.6 million active listings on its platform, a surge of 900,000 (or 16%) from the close of 2021.
Meanwhile, a surge in guest bookings have driven considerable growth from pre-pandemic levels. Case in point: Airbnb's gross booking value hit $63 billion for 2022, while nights and experiences totaled about 394 million for the 12-month period. These two metrics were up 67% and 20%, respectively, versus 2019. Notably, long-term stays -- those that are 28 days or longer -- account for 21% of all stays on Airbnb's platform.
Airbnb generated a whopping $3.4 billion in free cash flow last year, up over 3,000% from pre-pandemic levels. If you want to invest in the long-term growth runway of the travel industry without narrowing your focus to a hotel or airline that experiences far more cyclical levels of demand, Airbnb looks like a no-brainer growth stock to add to your buy basket.
Mastercard (NYSE: MA) is one of the largest payment processing companies in the world, a reality that has enabled it to remain resilient through many high and low economic tides throughout the years. Currently, the company accounts for 26% of all credit card transactions processed in the U.S. alone. Moreover, it is the third-largest payment processing entity in the world.
If a full-fledged recession happens, consumer spending may be even more constrained or volatile than it is now. However, the way in which Mastercard derives its revenue and profits provides a resilience to its core business model that may prove incredibly attractive to investors considering it for a long-term buy-and-hold position.
The company doesn't make money by extending loans to consumers. Instead, it derives revenue from fees it charges to the financial institutions that disburse its products, such as credit cards. These fees are tied directly to gross dollar volume.
And historically, in tough economic times, consumers tend to rely more on credit-based products to pay for goods than they might in less challenging periods. In the first quarter of 2023, Mastercard reported that cross-border volume was up 35% year-over-year, while gross dollar volume jumped 15%. Its revenue totaled just shy of $6 billion for the three-month period, up 11% year-over-year, while net income came to $2.4 billion.
Looking back over the trailing five years, Mastercard has seen its top and bottom lines surge by respective amounts of 50% and 70%. Its operating cash flow has risen by 80% in that same five-year period. Right now, Mastercard is sitting on a cache of $7 billion in cash and investments on its balance sheet.
Investors may want to consider this stock for a buy-and-hold investment regardless of what happens in the coming months. There's also its dividend, which, while less than 1%, could also provide a steady source of returns in the years ahead as it has more than doubled in the last five years alone.
Find out why Airbnb is one of the 10 best stocks to buy now
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Rachel Warren has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Airbnb and Mastercard. The Motley Fool recommends the following options: long January 2025 $370 calls on Mastercard and short January 2025 $380 calls on Mastercard. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.