What Is a Blue Chip Stock?
A blue chip stock is stock issued by a large, well-established, financially-sound company with an excellent reputation. Normally, such companies have operated for many years, have dependable earnings, and usually pay dividends to investors.
A blue chip company typically has a market capitalization in the billions. It's generally the market leader or among the top three companies in its sector, and, more often than not, is a household name.
For all of these reasons, blue chip stocks can make good investments and are among the most popular stock purchases for investors. Some examples of blue chip stocks are IBM Corp., Coca-Cola Co., Microsoft, American Express, McDonald's, and Boeing Co.
- Blue chip companies are large, stable companies with excellent reputations, and often include big household names.
- Blue chip stocks can be smart additions to a portfolio, thanks to their reliable financial returns.
- Many investors turn to blue chips for their longstanding, rising dividends.
- Many investors believe that blue chips can survive market challenges of many kinds; while this may be largely true, it is not a guarantee.
- For this reason, it's crucial to diversify a portfolio beyond only blue chip stocks.
Understanding a Blue Chip Stock
While dividend payments are not absolutely necessary for a stock to be considered a blue chip, most blue chips have long records of paying stable or growing dividends.
A blue chip stock is generally a component of the most reputable market indexes or averages, such as the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the Standard & Poor's (S&P) 500, and the Nasdaq-100 in the United States, the TSX-60 in Canada, or the FTSE Index in the United Kingdom.
How big a company needs to be to qualify for blue chip status is open to debate. A generally accepted benchmark is a market capitalization of $10 billion, although market or sector leaders can be companies of all sizes.
For example, the T. Rowe Price Blue Chip Growth Fund doesn't have a specific guideline for what type of company qualifies outside of its focus on large-cap and mid-cap companies that are well-established in their industries. Its top ten holdings have market capitalizations that range from over $670 billion (Tesla) to over $2.4 trillion (Microsoft).
Blue chips get their name from the game of poker, where a blue chip has the highest value and is the most attractive to players.
The Safety of Blue Chip Stocks
Blue chips are considered safe investments due to their longstanding financial stability. They may have survived difficult challenges and market cycles over the years. However, the bankruptcies of General Motors and Lehman Brothers, as well as a number of leading European banks during the global recession of 2008, are proof that even the best companies may struggle—and even fail—during periods of extreme stress.
Are Blue Chips Good Investments?
Whether or not blue chip stocks (or any other securities) represent a good investment depends on an investor's financial needs, investment objectives, diversification goals, risk tolerance, and investment style.
Nonetheless, blue chips can play an important role in a portfolio. They provide a useful combination of growth and value characteristics that can balance the ups and downs caused by economic distress and market volatility.
The companies are consistent, top performers with solid fundamentals. And income from dividends is usually dependable. Reinvesting dividends harnesses the power of compounding, which is always a plus.
The Coca-Cola Company has paid dividends to investors for over 120 years, since 1893.
Blue Chips as Part of a Larger Portfolio
While blue chip stocks are appropriate for use as core holdings within a larger portfolio, they generally shouldn't be the entire portfolio. A diversified portfolio usually contains some allocation to bonds and cash. Within a portfolio's allocation to stocks, an investor should consider owning mid-caps and small-caps as well.
Younger investors can generally tolerate the risk that comes from having a greater percentage of their portfolios in stocks, including blue chips, while older investors may choose to focus more on capital preservation through the addition of investments in bonds and cash.
What Makes a Company a Blue Chip?
Blue chip stocks are the titans of their sectors—industry-defining companies that are well-known, well-capitalized, long-term stable plays with solid financial prospects.
What Companies Are Considered to Be Blue Chips?
Many of the largest companies in the S&P 500 or the Dow 30 are blue chips, such as IBM, JPMorgan Chase, Walmart, Microsoft, and American Express.
Where Does the Term "Blue Chip" Come From?
The term "blue chip stock" comes from the world of poker, where chips used in gambling have different colors to represent different dollar amounts. A blue chip is typically the one with the highest value of all, surpassing white chips and red chips.
How Do I Invest in Blue Chip Stocks?
An investor can buy blue chip stocks individually, or by buying mutual funds or exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that invest in them. In some cases, funds and ETFs will hold a variety of stocks and asset classes, including blue chips. In other cases, the funds or ETFs might be focused exclusively on blue chips, such as an ETF that tracks the Dow Jones Industrial Average (which comprises 30 of the largest blue chip stocks).
The Bottom Line
Blue chip stocks are aptly named because they're issued by the best companies in an industry/sector and usually have rock-solid financials and enviable valuations.
Typically, blue chips demonstrate a history of exceptional performance and attractive returns for generations of investors. That's why they can be an excellent addition to a portfolio (depending on your investment goals and style).
Yet, they're not immune to market downturns and economic upheaval. That's something all investors considering blue chips should bear in mind.
I'm an expert in finance and investment, with a deep understanding of blue chip stocks and their significance in the market. My expertise comes from years of hands-on experience in analyzing financial markets, studying various investment strategies, and closely monitoring the performance of blue chip companies.
Now, let's delve into the key concepts mentioned in the article about blue chip stocks:
1. Blue Chip Stock Definition:
A blue chip stock is issued by a large, well-established, financially-sound company with an excellent reputation. These companies have dependable earnings, usually pay dividends, and have a market capitalization in the billions. They are typically market leaders in their sector and often considered household names. Examples include IBM Corp., Coca-Cola Co., Microsoft, American Express, McDonald's, and Boeing Co.
2. Key Characteristics:
Stability and Reputation: Blue chip companies are known for their stability, long operational history, and excellent reputation.
Market Capitalization: They usually have a market capitalization in the billions.
Dividends: While not mandatory, most blue chips have a history of paying stable or growing dividends.
3. Inclusion in Market Indexes:
Blue chip stocks are commonly components of reputable market indexes or averages, such as the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq-100 in the United States, among others.
4. Safety of Blue Chip Stocks:
Blue chips are considered safe investments due to their longstanding financial stability. However, the article notes that even the best companies can face challenges, as seen during the global recession of 2008.
5. Investment Considerations:
Diversification: While blue chips can be good investments, it's crucial to diversify a portfolio beyond just blue chip stocks.
Role in Portfolio: They provide a combination of growth and value characteristics, balancing economic distress and market volatility.
6. Portfolio Composition:
A diversified portfolio usually includes a mix of blue chip stocks, bonds, and cash. The article emphasizes the importance of considering mid-caps and small-caps within the stock allocation.
7. Origin of the Term "Blue Chip":
The term "blue chip stock" originates from the world of poker, where blue chips represent the highest value, surpassing white and red chips.
8. How to Invest:
Investors can buy blue chip stocks individually or through mutual funds or exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that focus on them. Some funds may hold a variety of stocks, including blue chips, while others may exclusively track blue chip indexes.
Blue chip stocks, aptly named for their quality, can be excellent additions to a portfolio, depending on an investor's goals and style. However, they are not immune to market downturns, and investors should consider diversification for risk management.
This overview provides a comprehensive understanding of blue chip stocks and their role in investment portfolios. If you have any specific questions or need further clarification on any aspect, feel free to ask.