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Long-Term Stock Investors: When Do You Sell?

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  • (0:30) - How Do You Know When To Sell Your Long-term Investment?
  • (5:30) - Tracey’s Top Stock Picks For Buy and Hold
  • (28:00) - Episode Roundup: AAPL, SBUX, DIS, SQ, TSLA


Welcome to Episode #370 of the Value Investor Podcast.

Every week, Tracey Ryniec, the editor of Zacks Value Investor portfolio, shares some of her top value investing tips and stock picks.

How long have you held some of your stocks?

5-years? 10-years? Or even 20-years?

Warren Buffett has famously said the time to sell a stock is never. But even the world’s greatest value investor has sold stocks from the Berkshire portfolio, including the sale of IBM which was for a loss.

When Do You Sell?

There’s no manual that tells you when to sell. When he sold IBM, Buffett said the business wasn’t performing as he had hoped when he bought it. Recently, Berkshire Hathaway sold a $20 billion chunk of its Apple position. It has owned Apple for 8 years. Buffett claimed the sale was for tax purposes.

Basically, investors should ask whether the company’s business is similar to what it was when they bought it. Is the management still excellent? Is there still growth and new products? Is the company in an industry that faces risks that will be difficult to overcome? Does it have a moat?

It’s Not All or Nothing

That’s another thing all long-term investors should know. You don’t have to sell your entire position. Another option is to sell just a portion of your position and let the rest of it ride in your portfolio. That’s what Buffett did with Apple.

5 Popular Buy and Hold Stocks

1.       Apple Inc. (AAPL - Free Report)

Apple is one of the most popular stocks among value investors thanks to Warren Buffett gushing about it nearly every year since 2016. But his recent sale of Apple probably did cause some long-term investors to question their own strategy.

Apple is expected to grow its earnings by 7.2% in fiscal 2024 and another 9.6% in fiscal 2025. Shares of Apple are up just 9.6% over the last year and are underperforming the S&P 500, which was up 25.7% during the same period.

Trading at 29x, Apple is no longer a value stock. Should long-term investors think about taking some profit off on Apple like Buffett did?

2.       Starbucks Corp. (SBUX - Free Report)

Starbucks recently had a disappointing quarter. Earnings are only expected to be up 1.4% in fiscal 2024.

Shares of Starbucks have fallen 21.6% over the last year but Starbucks isn’t cheap. It still trades with a forward P/E of 22.5.

Tracey has owned Starbucks in her personal portfolio for 10 years. Is it time to cut Starbucks loose?

3.       The Walt Disney Co. (DIS - Free Report)

Many parents have bought shares of Walt Disney over the years for their children’s stock portfolio. After all, why not buy what you know?

It’s been a rough 5 years for Walt Disney. Shares are down 24.2% during that time while the S&P 500 is up 86.4%. Earnings of Walt Disney are rebounding, however. They are expected to be up 26.6% in fiscal 2024 and another 14.3% in fiscal 2025.

Should Walt Disney still be in a parent’s portfolio?

4.       Shopify Inc. (SHOP - Free Report)

Shopify was a big pandemic winner, hitting new highs in late 2021. But since, it has sold off. However, Shopify is still up 154% over the last 5 years, which is beating the S&P 500 which is up 86.4%.

Shares of Shopify are struggling in 2024, as they have fallen 26% year-to-date. Yet, earnings are on the rebound. Earnings are expected to rise 29.7% in 2024 and another 33.8% in 2025.

Should long-term investors have patience with Shopify?

5.       Tesla, Inc. (TSLA - Free Report)

Tesla has hit a rough patch in 2024. Shares of Tesla have fallen 30% year-to-date. But long-term investors might barely have noticed as the stock is still up 1570% over the last 5 years.

Tesla’s earnings are expected to fall this year, by 20.8%. But analysts expect a rebound in 2025, with earnings forecast to rise 31%.

Tesla investors have been known to be patient. Should they continue to be in 2024?

What Else Should You Know About Selling a Long-Term Stock Position?

Tune into this week’s podcast to find out.

[In full disclosure, Tracey owns shares of SBUX in her personal portfolio.]


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