10 Boring Investments That Are Surprisingly Profitable

By Tim Lemke on 12 April 2016 1 comment

It may seem fun to invest in companies that excite you. But there are few things more exciting than seeing share prices rise, even if the companies themselves are a real bore.

If you want to make money in investing, it helps to forget about the sizzle factor. Because some of the weirdest or most boring investments are often the most profitable. Consider these 10 investments that aren't too exciting, but have shown great returns over time, or have recent good results worth watching. (See also: 4 Ways "Boring" Investments Make Life Exciting)

1. Office Buildings

Is there anything less exciting than large square buildings or shopping centers? Think of the big malls or huge office parks that you'll often drive past in the suburbs. Boring, right? Well, if you invest in this type of real estate, you'll do okay — or better. There are many real estate investment trusts (REITs) that allow investors to buy shares, and they often pay some of the highest dividends on the market. Consider stocks like Federal Realty Investment Trust, now trading near its 52-week high and with a five-year return of nearly 90%.

2. Gambling Stocks

For a few years, casino stocks were getting crushed, in part due to problems with the gaming industry in China. But there is evidence that the industry has bottomed out and may be on the verge of rebounding. New resorts are planned in Las Vegas, Macau, and elsewhere that are expected to boost revenues for companies like Wynn [NASDAQ: WYNN], Las Vegas Sands [NYSE: LVS] and MGM Resorts [NYSE: MGM]. So if you don't have a moral objection to investing in these stocks, now may be the time to get in on the action.

3. Baking Soda and Condoms

Church & Dwight [NYSE: CHD] may not be the sexiest investment out there. Or maybe it is. After all, it owns Trojan, which makes more condoms than anyone else. And it makes First Response, the popular pregnancy test (in case you forgot to use the Trojans). Church and Dwight also makes a lot of household products that Americans use every day, including Arm & Hammer baking soda and OxiClean. Church & Dwight reported record sales and profits in 2015. Shares are trading near a 52-week high and are up 10% in 2016.

4. An Old Newspaper

What? Investing in a newspaper? Okay, let's be clear. No one is getting rich quick by investing in the New York Times [NYSE: NYT]. But perhaps no news organization has done a better job of shifting its business model from print to digital, and its revenues show the results. The company reported $444 million in revenue during its most recent financial quarter, with a 48% increase in profit.

5. Botox and Viagra

Hey, it's easy to get rich on older people trying to stay young. Pfizer, the maker of Viagra, said last year it would merge with Allergan, the maker of Botox, to form the world's largest pharmaceutical firm. The merger has yet to be approved and has some critics, but the combined company could see a boost from efficiencies and a lower corporate tax rate (it would be based in Ireland).

6. Cigarettes

It's hard to believe that people still smoke, but Altria [NYSE: MO], the owner of Philip Morris and other tobacco-related companies, has offered strong returns to investors even as people became more aware of their product's risks. Altria has been a leader in developing e-cigarettes and other new products, and has reported growing sales and profits of more than $11 billion last year. Shares of the company are trading near a 52-week high.

7. Dollar Tree

How can you make huge profits, one dollar at a time? This company knows how. Dollar Tree [NYSE: DLTR] splurged and bought competitor Family Dollar last year, so it now owns nearly 14,000 stores in North America and is predicting more than $20 billion in sales in 2016. Investors were initially skeptical about the merger, but the company's stock price is now about $80, and some analysts think it will go above $90 by year's end as the benefits of the merger take shape.

8. Boxes and Packages

When was the last time you thought about the package an item comes in? Maybe never, right? Bemis Company has quietly served as one of the world leaders in packaging for food, electronics, and pharmaceuticals throughout North America, Central America, and Asia. It reported sales of more than $4 billion last year. Shares are up 17% to date and are trading near a 52-week high.

9. Paint

Investing in paint may seem as exciting as watching paint dry. But shares of companies that produce paint are actually quite profitable. Consider Valspar [NYSE: VAL] which just hit its highest price in a year and has been one of the stock market's most consistent performers for decades. Or Axalta, which recently got a $500 million investment from Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway. (Berkshire also owns Benjamin Moore paints.) Meanwhile, Sherwin Williams shares are up nearly 30% since last fall.

10. Environmental Testing Equipment and... Dental Technology

You will never hear much about what Danaher Corp. [NYSE: DHR] does, except generate good returns for investors. The company produces a wide array of industrial products including testing instruments, technology solutions for dentists, and even laser marking for product packaging. Despite a product line that won't make headlines, Danaher has been a consistently solid performer — $1,000 invested in Danaher stock 20 years ago would be worth $21,000 today.

Are any of these dull, but winning, stocks in your portfolio?

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Guest's picture
Patricia Minnis

I'm new to stocks but would like more information on how to invest. And how much money do I need to get started? I Am on disability to. Information would greatly be appreciated. Thanks