Investors don't have to take on huge risks to achieve market-beating returns. If you buy stakes in strong companies with sustainable competitive advantages and give those positions some time to grow, even relatively modest investments can turn into much larger sums.
As just one example, Alphabet was already a well-established industry leader 10 years ago, but if you had bought shares then and held onto them, you would have more than quintupled your money. If you're looking for that kind of performance today, these two stocks are no-brainers to buy right now and hold for the long term.
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How do you follow up an act like spearheading the global e-commerce revolution? For Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), the answer was with a pioneering push into the world of cloud services that ultimately paved way for much of the modern internet as we know it. From there, the company has used its development strengths and vast resources to build a fast-growing digital advertising business.
Perhaps better than any other company out there, Amazon has demonstrated an ability to identify, create, and propel influential growth trends and synergistic opportunities. Between its e-commerce and cloud services businesses and its rapidly growing digital ads ventures, the tech giant already has strong growth engines to propel it through the next decade and beyond. However, it's hardly sitting back and resting on these laurels.
Take the company's recently unveiled Astro robot as an example. The $999 home-monitoring and management device may or may not get much traction in the consumer market, but Amazon is already positioning itself as a leader in the consumer robotics space, and it's likely thinking about the long game. The Alexa voice operating system used by its Echo smart speakers is integrated with Astro, and Amazon will almost certainly continue using speech command and machine vision data gathered by the new robot and subsequent releases to help drive new product innovations and iterations.
Amazon's stock price has surged by approximately 1,350% over the last decade, and a single share currently goes for roughly $3,400. However, most trading platforms now offer the opportunity to purchase fractional shares, so investors can take a flexible approach, dipping their toes in the water without committing to initial positions quite that large.
MercadoLibre (NASDAQ: MELI) is an e-commerce player that's sometimes referred to as "the Amazon of Latin America." In addition to its online retail marketplace and services, the Argentina-based company is also a leader in the territory's fast-growing digital payments market, and it's poised to continue capitalizing on some powerful growth trends.
MercadoLibre stock has delivered stellar returns over the last decade, but its trek higher has been temporarily derailed across 2021's trading. Shares trade down roughly 5.5% year to date and 21.5% from their 52-week high, but there's a good chance that the stock will eventually bounce back and go on to reach new heights.
Political tensions and relatively high inflation in Brazil and other Latin American countries have led to turbulent trading for companies with substantial exposure to the market, and broader volatility for growth-dependent tech stocks hasn't done the company's valuation any favors either. However, MercadoLibre's long-term outlook continues to look very attractive.
The e-commerce and fintech company is growing sales and bringing new users on board its platforms at explosive clips. Unique active users across the company's services climbed roughly 47% year over year last quarter to reach 75.9 million, and the combination of user additions and strong engagement helped the company's sales hit $1.7 billion -- up 102.6% compared to the prior-year period.
In addition to 46.1% growth for gross merchandise volume on the company's online retail marketplace on a currency-adjusted basis, total payment volume for its Mercado Pago platform surged 72.2% in the second quarter. MercadoLibre's stock performance may not have been terribly impressive as of late, but its business performance certainly has been.
For patient investors seeking market-crushing growth potential, the company continues to offer a very attractive risk-reward dynamic. The e-commerce and digital payments services markets still have huge room for growth in Latin America, and MercadoLibre's leading position in these industries and strength at their intersection put the company in a good position to continue serving up big wins for shareholders.
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John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Keith Noonan has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares), Amazon, and MercadoLibre. The Motley Fool recommends the following options: long January 2022 $1,920 calls on Amazon and short January 2022 $1,940 calls on Amazon. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.