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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 Archer Daniels Midland Co. (NYSE: ADM)? Today, we examine the outcome of a five year investment into the stock back in 2015.

Start date: 06/12/2015


End date: 06/11/2020
Start price/share: $51.91
End price/share: $38.60
Starting shares: 192.64
Ending shares: 225.32
Dividends reinvested/share: $6.50
Total return: -13.03%
Average annual return: -2.75%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $8,697.91

As we can see, the five year investment result worked out poorly, with an annualized rate of return of -2.75%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $8,697.91 today (as of 06/11/2020). On a total return basis, that’s a result of -13.03% (something to think about: how might ADM shares perform over the next 5 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Archer Daniels Midland Co. paid investors a total of $6.50/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 1.44/share, we calculate that ADM has a current yield of approximately 3.73%. 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 $51.91/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 7.19%.

Another great investment quote to think about:
“A stock is not just a ticker symbol or an electronic blip; it is an ownership interest in an actual business, with an underlying value that does not depend on its share price.” — Benjamin Graham