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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

The Warren Buffett investment philosophy calls for a long-term investment horizon, where a five year holding period, or even longer, would fit right into the strategy. How would such a strategy have worked out for an investment into Viacom Inc (NASD: VIAB)? Today, we examine the outcome of a five year investment into the stock back in 2014.

Start date: 07/28/2014


End date: 07/25/2019
Start price/share: $85.98
End price/share: $30.83
Starting shares: 116.31
Ending shares: 132.94
Dividends reinvested/share: $5.39
Total return: -59.01%
Average annual return: -16.35%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $4,099.72

The above analysis shows the five year investment result worked out poorly, with an annualized rate of return of -16.35%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $4,099.72 today (as of 07/25/2019). On a total return basis, that’s a result of -59.01% (something to think about: how might VIAB shares perform over the next 5 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Many investors out there refuse to own any stock that lacks a dividend; in the case of Viacom Inc, investors have received $5.39/share in dividends these past 5 years examined in the exercise above. This means total return was driven not just by share price, but also by the dividends received (and what the investor did with those dividends). For this exercise, what we’ve done with the dividends is to assume they are reinvestted — i.e. used to purchase additional shares (the calculations use closing price on ex-date).

Based upon the most recent annualized dividend rate of .8/share, we calculate that VIAB has a current yield of approximately 2.59%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of .8 against the original $85.98/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 3.01%.

More investment wisdom to ponder:
“It’s not always easy to do what’s not popular, but that’s where you make your money. Buy stocks that look bad to less careful investors and hang on until their real value is recognized.” — John Neff