There are about thirty to sixty companies in existence that should not be sold under any circumstances, and most of them are currently on the list of Dividend Aristocrats and Dividend Champions. One of those companies with an especially legendary history is Abbott Laboratories, which has such a long history that Benjamin Graham himself used the company as an example of a buy-and-hold forever stock when he was teaching at Columbia University.
Abbott Labs even worked its way on to page 97 of The Intelligent Investor, with Graham saying that it is usually good to set predetermined prices for buying a stock—in this particular example, Graham was arguing that investors shouldn’t pay more than 14x profits, although he uses 15x profits and 20x profits at times in his later work. Abbott Labs is referred to as the example of a company so good that hard rules will cause you to miss the excellent opportunity—Graham wrote that Abbott Labs had a blue-chip reputation as an excellent pharmaceutical back in 1939, and had “excellent prospects for long-term growth” but also traded at 22x profits. By 1948, Abbott had grown its profits from $2.90 to $10.90 over the 1939-1948 period. The price went from 62 to 150 over that time, and plus investors got to reinvest about forty dividend payments on the way up from 62 to 150 (in case you’re wondering, the other stocks that Graham considered buy-and-hold forever in his 1940 classroom were Coca-Cola and General Electric).