Companies with massive moats tend to do well in both strong and weak markets. This is for several reasons. These companies have strong branding as well as offer competitive prices for high-quality goods and services. Warren Buffett always talks about moats because they are an important metric in determining competitive advantage. The following five companies are vital to regular Americans and corporations.
Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) develops, licenses, and supports a range of software products and services for various computing devices worldwide.
Of course we find this giant on the list; Microsoft is one of the strongest brands in the world, with a monopoly-like status. It generates billions in cash flow and has a strong commitment to share buybacks as well as increasing its dividend consistently. The stock trades at a forward P/E of 8.3 and pays a nearly 3% dividend (accounts for the recent increase).
Google Inc.(GOOG) maintains an index of Web sites and other online content for users, advertisers, and Google network members and other content providers.
If you search the web, then chances are you use Google. Google has been diversifying outside of its search business lately. However, even with heavy competition coming from Microsoft's Bing, I do not expect to hear the phrase "Just Bing it" anytime soon. The stock trades at a forward P/E of 12.8.
Intel Corporation (INTC) engages in the design, manufacture, and sale of integrated circuits for computing and communications industries worldwide.
It seems Wall Street has been worried about Intel's growth prospects. As rapid adoption of the iPad continues, PC sales will be flat. Intel still has partnerships with Apple, though. The stock has a forward P/E of 8.9 and pays a solid 3.8% dividend.
QUALCOMM Incorporated (QCOM) engages in the development, design, manufacture, and marketing of digital wireless telecommunications products and services.
If you use a cell phone, then you have most likely provided revenue to Qualcomm. Qualcomm has patents on 2G, 3G, and 4G technology. The company basically runs the mobile phone market. Whether it's Verizon or AT&T, they all do business with Qualcomm. The stock trades at a forward P/E of 14 and pays a 1.6 % dividend.
IBM is a staple amongst corporations both big and small. Fortune 500 companies use IBM for many of their needs. The company provides important services such as data management and IT infrastructure development. The stock trades at a forward P/E of 11 and pays a 1.7% dividend.
I believe at least one of these companies should be in a tech-heavy portfolio. They are strong brands with great cash flows. As always, do your own research before investing.
Disclosure: I am long MSFT.