Wall Street analysts are paid to predict company sales and earnings performance, typically over the next few years. Some analysts go further, estimating financial results over the next five years, but finding an analyst to predict further into the future is rare.
But, with most individual investors having an investment horizon of over 20 years, we should put more emphasis on the really long-term. With this in mind, what stocks should we expect to perform well over the next two decades?
Flexible displays everywhere
Currently, flexible LED technology has not moved past its prototype phase, but this futuristic concept could have a major impact on our lives in the year 2033. Once the technology achieves mainstream status, investors will want to own Universal Display Corporation (NASDAQ:PANL) .
Universal Display Corporation (NASDAQ:PANL)’s current revenue stream is mainly from OLED display sales to mega-customers like Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK) and Samsung, that use these displays in smartphones and flat-panel TV’s. Because of these strong partnerships and the growth in flat-panel displays, earnings per share are expected to double this year and double again in 2014.
The next five years will continue to be promising for Universal Display Corporation (NASDAQ:PANL) as customers replace and add smartphones and additional flat screen TV’s. Screens will become larger and will use more mobile displays, making the OLED market a good bet over this time frame.
But Universal Display Corporation (NASDAQ:PANL)’s real potential lies beyond the foreseeable future. With 2,200 patents, including many in the innovative flexible panel arena, the distant future for Universal is in flexible displays. Imagine a foldable, electronic newspaper that actually updates daily. Or your window at home doubling as a flat-screen TV.
With flexible panels, information will be visible to us in places and ways we never imagined. Universal Display Corporation (NASDAQ:PANL) is in the enviable position of being the pioneer in flexible display technology, and investors should target entry points to accumulate shares.
Capitalize on crumbling infrastructure
In the United States, our infrastructure is crumbling around us. Bridges, roads, sewer systems, and power plants are in dire need of replacement and will have to be addressed at some point over the next 20 years. Additionally, population growth will necessitate bigger and better ways to transport, shelter, and feed citizens. With global infrastructure expectations of $57 trillion by 2030 according to McKinsey, there is huge money to be made in infrastructure.
URS Corp (NYSE:URS) is in a perfect position to capitalize on this upcoming spending trend. As a “leading provider of engineering, construction and technical services for public agencies and private sector companies around the world,” URS Corp (NYSE:URS) is number 14 of the top 100 Federal Government contractors, with 2011 government revenue of nearly $4 billion. As the most frequently used U.S. government engineering contractor, URS Corp (NYSE:URS) will definitely have a shot at some big projects over the next two decades.
Shares of URS Corp (NYSE:URS) have been very choppy over the last five years, mainly bouncing between $30 and $45 as patient investors collect a 2% dividend. At 9 times projected 2014 earnings per share of $4.82, the market has priced in only moderate growth. Investors with a longer-term horizon can buy URS Corp (NYSE:URS) in its current trading range and sleep well at night.
Due to the enormous projected impact of health care over the next two decades (and because no futuristic article would be complete without a robot reference), investors should closely monitor the trend of using robotics to assist in health care settings. Massachusetts-based iRobot Corporation (NASDAQ:IRBT) is the leader in the growing robot industry, and a pioneer in the development of robots for performing medical tasks.
iRobot Corporation (NASDAQ:IRBT) currently markets the RP-VITA, which gives doctors the ability to work remotely with a robotic presence for patient interaction. RP-VITA, which was approved by the FDA in January, gives doctors the ability to see patients without actually being on-site, as the robot can be used for patient examinations and in surgical settings.
As innovative as RP-VITA is today, iRobot Corporation (NASDAQ:IRBT)’s long-term future could bring an even more exciting and ground-breaking technology — physician assistive robots. Imagine an iRobot Corporation (NASDAQ:IRBT)-developed device performing complex surgeries with minimal complications and a high level of accuracy. These devices could work around the clock, never getting fatigued, and could perform more complex surgeries than humans.
Shares of iRobot Corporation (NASDAQ:IRBT) are higher by about 20% over the last year due to strong sales of gimmicky consumer robot devices, but the company maintains a reasonable enterprise value of around $650 million. At this price, iRobot could be an acquisition target for a larger company like General Electric Company (NYSE:GE) or Siemens AG (NYSE:SI). Because of its great potential for future growth or acquisition, iRobot Corporation (NASDAQ:IRBT) deserves to be stored in a savvy investor’s long-term account.
Wise investors will always allocate an appropriate percentage of their assets to high potential positions. These three stocks are speculative but all have solid fundamental reasons to believe that they will survive, if not thrive over the short-term. But the real potential for huge gains lies in the more distant future, either though capital appreciation or via acquisition. Investors willing to look forward to 2033 should begin accumulating positions, averaging into shares over time.
The article 3 Stocks for the Year 2033 originally appeared on Fool.com.