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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

Investors can learn a lot from Warren Buffett, whose above quote teaches the importance of thinking about investment time horizon, and asking ourselves before buying any given stock: can we envision holding onto it for years — even a five year holding period possibly?

Suppose a “buy-and-hold” investor was considering an investment into Lam Research Corp (NASD: LRCX) back in 2015: back then, such an investor may have been pondering this very same question. Had they answered “yes” to a full five year investment time horizon and then actually held for these past 5 years, here’s how that investment would have turned out.

Start date: 05/18/2015


End date: 05/15/2020
Start price/share: $79.46
End price/share: $251.84
Starting shares: 125.85
Ending shares: 137.32
Dividends reinvested/share: $13.55
Total return: 245.83%
Average annual return: 28.18%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $34,578.48

The above analysis shows the five year investment result worked out exceptionally well, with an annualized rate of return of 28.18%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $34,578.48 today (as of 05/15/2020). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 245.83% (something to think about: how might LRCX shares perform over the next 5 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Lam Research Corp paid investors a total of $13.55/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 4.6/share, we calculate that LRCX has a current yield of approximately 1.83%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 4.6 against the original $79.46/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 2.30%.

One more piece of investment wisdom to leave you with:
“We ignore outlooks and forecasts… we’re lousy at it and we admit it … everyone else is lousy too, but most people won’t admit it.” — Martin Whitman