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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 above quote from Warren Buffett is timeless, and brings into focus the choice about time horizon that any investor should think about before buying a stock they are considering. Behind every stock is an actual business; what will that business look like over a decade-long period?

Today, let’s look backwards in time to 2009, and take a look at what happened to investors who asked that very question about Pfizer Inc (NYSE: PFE), by taking a look at the investment outcome over a decade-long holding period.

Start date: 07/06/2009


End date: 07/02/2019
Start price/share: $14.57
End price/share: $44.22
Starting shares: 686.34
Ending shares: 992.63
Dividends reinvested/share: $10.40
Total return: 338.94%
Average annual return: 15.95%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $43,888.97

As shown above, the decade-long investment result worked out exceptionally well, with an annualized rate of return of 15.95%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 10 years ago into $43,888.97 today (as of 07/02/2019). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 338.94% (something to think about: how might PFE shares perform over the next 10 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Pfizer Inc paid investors a total of $10.40/share in dividends over the 10 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 1.44/share, we calculate that PFE has a current yield of approximately 3.26%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 1.44 against the original $14.57/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 22.37%.

More investment wisdom to ponder:
“Investing is the intersection of economics and psychology.” — Seth Klarman