NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The market appears to be at a standstill, waiting for some catalyst to send stock prices higher. But like the bogeyman, there's also the constant fear of a 5% to 10% pullback. It's "right around the corner," prognosticators claim.
Still, not every stock will be affected if or when a meaningful market pullback emerges. In that vein, in Microsoft (MSFT), AT&T (T) and Intel (INTC) are three stocks to buy and hold for the long term.
Aside from paying solid dividends, all three companies are solid picks to buy on any dip, allowing investors to create a valuable nest egg they can retire on. Better still, they're trading at cheap valuation relative to their future earnings potential. Let's take a look at each one, starting with the world's largest software company.
After surprising the market in 2014, posting stock gains of 24%, Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft has been a relative disappointment so far in 2015, delivering flat gains against 2% returns for the S&P 500 (SPX). Still, the Dow component, which pays a 31-cent quarterly dividend that yields 2.70% annually, remains a compelling buy at this level.
For one thing, this is not the same Microsoft of the 1990s. Better still, new CEO Satya Nadella has helped the market forget the lost decade under former CEO Steve Ballmer. While declining sales in personal computers remain an overhang, Microsoft is growing less reliant on PC sales, as evidenced by the strong growth in its commercial cloud business, which has delivered 100% year-over-year growth for six straight quarters.