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“I buy on the assumption that they could close the market the next day and not reopen it for five years.”

— Warren Buffett

One of the most important things investors can learn from Warren Buffett, is about how they approach their time horizon for an investment into a stock under consideration. Because immediately after buying shares of a given stock, investors will then be able to check on the day-to-day (and even minute-by-minute) market value. Some days the stock market will be up, other days down. These daily fluctuations can often distract from the long-term view. Today, we look at the result of a five year holding period for an investor who was considering Agilent Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: A) back in 2014, bought the stock, ignored the market’s ups and downs, and simply held through to today.

Start date: 03/26/2014


End date: 03/25/2019
Start price/share: $39.46
End price/share: $79.52
Starting shares: 253.42
Ending shares: 266.17
Dividends reinvested/share: $2.43
Total return: 111.66%
Average annual return: 16.18%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $21,166.88

As we can see, the five year investment result worked out exceptionally well, with an annualized rate of return of 16.18%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $21,166.88 today (as of 03/25/2019). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 111.66% (something to think about: how might A shares perform over the next 5 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Agilent Technologies, Inc. paid investors a total of $2.43/share in dividends over the 5 holding period, marking a second component of the total return beyond share price change alone. Much like watering a tree, reinvesting dividends can help an investment to grow over time — for the above calculations we assume dividend reinvestment (and for this exercise the closing price on ex-date is used for the reinvestment of a given dividend).

Based upon the most recent annualized dividend rate of .656/share, we calculate that A has a current yield of approximately 0.82%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of .656 against the original $39.46/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 2.08%.

Here’s one more great investment quote before you go:
“Your success in investing will depend in part on your character and guts and in part on your ability to realize, at the height of ebullience and the depth of despair alike, that this too, shall pass.” — Jack Bogle