2 top Warren Buffett stocks to buy and hold for the long haul

These are two of the Oracle of Omaha's biggest tech investments.

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This article was originally published on Fool.com. All figures quoted in US dollars unless otherwise stated.

One of the keys to Warren Buffett's phenomenal success over the years has been his willingness to buy stocks of good companies possessing long runways of future growth at discounted prices and then hold them for the long haul.

Using exactly that strategy, Buffett has generated aggregate gains of 3,641,613% since taking control of Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK.A) (NYSE: BRK.B) in 1965, for a 20.1% compound annual growth rate (CAGR). In comparison, the S&P 500 has generated 30,209% in total returns over that period, for a CAGR of 10.5%. In other words, there's a good reason Buffett is referred to as the Oracle of Omaha and people buy, sell, and hold the same stocks he does. 

Buffett was relatively late in buying tech stocks, but he's made up for that since. The following pair of companies represent some of his biggest tech holdings. They fit neatly within his strategy, and you can also buy and hold them for the long run.

Apple

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) is not only Buffett's biggest tech holding but his largest holding overall, representing a whopping 41% of Berkshire Hathaway's total portfolio. With almost 1 billion shares under his management, the investing oracle has accumulated $128.2 billion worth of Apple stock. With shares down 23% from recent highs and at some of the lowest prices in the past year, it's a stock you might want to consider acquiring for your own portfolio.

The weakness has to do with the new iPhone 14, which reportedly faces weakening demand. The company reportedly reversed plans to hike production because of it, but such bearishness is all relative. 

The iPhone, which was unveiled in September and starts at $1,000, is still selling quite well, beating out low-cost entry-level models elsewhere, and Apple is still planning to produce some 90 million iPhone 14s, which is in line with its original forecast for the device.

Apple still commands about half of the U.S. smartphone market, despite the iPhone getting long in the tooth after having been first introduced 15 years ago. And MacBook shipments are going against the grain, with market intelligence firm IDC reporting shipments surging 40.2% in the third quarter compared with a 15% decline in global PC shipments. 

Yet, as much as hardware remains a driving force for Apple, services are the real growth opportunity going forward. Services account for 20% of total sales, though the company is not immune to economic concerns. Analysts estimate App Store revenue dropped 5% in September due to a sharp decline in gaming revenue as inflation and recession fears take a toll on consumers. Growth may be a little slower now than it was, but margins are rising, and at 71.5%, well above Apple's 43.3% overall gross margins.

There will be ups and downs in any business, but Apple will be commanding a leadership position for years to come and would be a stock to consider now and in the future.

Verisign

Although Buffett first bought Verisign (NASDAQ: VRSN) nearly a decade ago, he has not accumulated nearly as much of its stock as he has of Apple's. He owns 12.8 million shares, worth some $2.3 billion. Not shabby, but it represents only 0.7% of the Berkshire portfolio, so its rise and fall won't have as great of an impact on performance. Still, it's one that investors ought to consider as well.

Verisign is the premier global provider of domain name registry services. It's the main company charged with doling out the .com, .edu, .gov, and .net domain names you find on the internet, while providing the routing support for them. Its behind-the-scenes operations basically point people to the correct website when they type in any site ending in those designations, helping to keep the world online and connected.

Verisign ended the second quarter with 351.5 million domain name registrations across all top-level domains, all of which pay a fee to it annually. It's been likened to the exclusive toll collector on the internet's "toll road," and it enjoys high-margin recurring revenue while having conversely low capital requirements, leading to very stable free cash flow generation.

There's no likelihood the internet is going anywhere, and its importance to business, even in the face of a potential recession, only continues to grow. Certainly, there was a massive uptick in the number of people starting their own businesses during the early months of the pandemic -- and registering their domain names -- that has since normalized, but that just underscores the long-term upward trajectory Verisign has at its back.

Buffett first bought Verisign in the fourth quarter of 2012, investing $143 million at an average of around $42 per share. With near monopoly-like status in its industry, careful stewardship of its business, and a cash-rich stream of revenue, the growth thesis behind Buffett's purchase of Verisign is still very much intact. With shares down 30% year to date, it may be the perfect time to buy your own stake, too.   

This article was originally published on Fool.com. All figures quoted in US dollars unless otherwise stated.

Rich Duprey has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has positions in and has recommended Apple and VeriSign. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has recommended the following options: long March 2023 $120 calls on Apple and short March 2023 $130 calls on Apple. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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