As we close the book on the silver anniversary of CNBC, the company's digital arm is looking ahead to the next 25 years and the trends, challenges and innovations that will define that era.
The following are companies best positioned to capitalize on these waves. Some may look familiar, while others will be a total surprise. However, they all have one or more of the following characteristics: a deep moat, an energetic leader, steady and growing cash flows, and multiple revenue streams. No need to look up their quotes everyday, just stash these away and open in 2039.
1. Facebook (FB)—The crowd long-term favorite, Mark Zuckerberg's social network has all the attributes listed above. No other company will dominate the way we communicate in the future, as well as entertain and inform ourselves. Twenty-five years from now its 2014 acquisition of Oculus Rift, a 3-D virtual reality headset maker, will look prescient or just downright crazy. Mike Murphy of "Fast Money" thinks it will be our first ever trillion-dollar company.
2. Alibaba (BABA)—With a market value north of $250 billion, the Chinese online retail giant does not have the law of large numbers on its side. But don't tell that to its charismatic leader Jack Ma. The 50 year old has said he wants the company, founded in 1999, to last 102 years so it can "span three centuries." The only company on this list without any exposure to the U.S. will change that soon with the rollout of its "AliExpress" brand.
3. Google (GOOG)—Any long-term portfolio would be incomplete without a position in this do-it-all tech giant. While most of this company's revenues came from search advertising during the previous decade, the next 25 years for Google will not be so easily defined. From a cure for autism to self-driving cars, it will be fun seeing which one of Larry Page's moonshots hits pay dirt first.
4. Apple (AAPL)—Don't worry, there's plenty left for Tim Cook to conquer. The Apple Watch—set for release early 2015—will be the company's first foray into the ubiquitous "Internet of Things." Look for the TV and car to follow suit. And don't forget about the income part of the total return equation. A record-breaking cash hoard means healthy payouts for years to come.
5. Tesla (TSLA)—This list wouldn't be complete without at least one of Elon Musk's ventures. Bottom-basement gas prices have diminished Tesla's environmental appeal. Now it's a bet on convenience and quality. Imagine a nonstop drive from Boston to D.C. where you don't even touch the wheel? We're not that far away.
6. Nike (NKE)—Phil Knight's shoe company stands to benefit from the explosion of the middle class in emerging markets like China and Mexico. "Nike's brand investment, innovation levels and extensive global distribution network should allow further market share growth, often at the expensive of local competitors," Goldman Sachs said in a recent note.
7. Edwards Lifesciences (EW)—The world's largest manufacturer of heart valves will benefit from an aging, active U.S. population. And just wait until the emerging China middle class discovers red meat.
8. Carnival Corp. (CCL)—The world's largest cruise company just commissioned four new ships to be built in less than 18 months. The company can't build boats fast enough to keep up with those retiring baby boomers.
9. Align Technology (ALGN)—Talk about a competitive moat. Align has 80 percent of the invisible braces market. The dental equipment market in emerging countries should grow by double digits annually over the next decade, according to Goldman Sachs.
10. Veolia (VE)—"Futures Now" contributor Scott Nations gives us our last name on the list, a provider of clean water and desalinization techniques. "Water is the main constraint to growth," said Nations. "Veolia is going to be selling the most precious commodity in the world to the people who need it most."