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“Only buy something that you’d be perfectly happy to hold if the market shut down for 10 years.”

— Warren Buffett

The wisdom of Warren Buffett reflects a value-based philosophy about investing that says investors are buying shares in a business, and encourages strategic thinking about investment time horizon. Before placing a buy order for a stock, a great question we can ask is whether we would still be comfortable making the investment if we couldn’t sell it for many years?

A “buy-and-hold” approach may call for a time horizon that spans a long period of time — maybe even lasting for a ten year holding period. Suppose such a “buy-and-hold” investor had looked into buying shares of Sysco Corp (NYSE: SYY) back in 2009. Let’s take a look at how such an investment would have worked out for that buy-and-hold investor:

Start date: 04/20/2009


End date: 04/17/2019
Start price/share: $22.01
End price/share: $70.64
Starting shares: 454.34
Ending shares: 619.61
Dividends reinvested/share: $11.86
Total return: 337.69%
Average annual return: 15.91%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $43,755.57

The above analysis shows the ten year investment result worked out exceptionally well, with an annualized rate of return of 15.91%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 10 years ago into $43,755.57 today (as of 04/17/2019). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 337.69% (something to think about: how might SYY shares perform over the next 10 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Beyond share price change, another component of SYY’s total return these past 10 years has been the payment by Sysco Corp of $11.86/share in dividends to shareholders. Automatic reinvestment of dividends can be a wonderful way to compound returns, and for the above calculations we presume that dividends are reinvested into additional shares of stock. (For the purpose of these calcuations, the closing price on ex-date is used).

Based upon the most recent annualized dividend rate of 1.56/share, we calculate that SYY has a current yield of approximately 2.21%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 1.56 against the original $22.01/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 10.04%.

Here’s one more great investment quote before you go:
“Investing is the intersection of economics and psychology.” — Seth Klarman