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“When we own portions of outstanding businesses with outstanding managements, our favorite holding period is forever.”

— Warren Buffett

One of the most important things investors can learn from Warren Buffett, is about how they approach their time horizon for an investment into a stock under consideration. Because immediately after buying shares of a given stock, investors will then be able to check on the day-to-day (and even minute-by-minute) market value. Some days the stock market will be up, other days down. These daily fluctuations can often distract from the long-term view. Today, we look at the result of a two-decade holding period for an investor who was considering Archer Daniels Midland Co. (NYSE: ADM) back in 2000, bought the stock, ignored the market’s ups and downs, and simply held through to today.

Start date: 06/26/2000


End date: 06/25/2020
Start price/share: $9.24
End price/share: $39.95
Starting shares: 1,082.25
Ending shares: 1,661.80
Dividends reinvested/share: $14.06
Total return: 563.89%
Average annual return: 9.92%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $66,371.95

As we can see, the two-decade investment result worked out well, with an annualized rate of return of 9.92%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 20 years ago into $66,371.95 today (as of 06/25/2020). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 563.89% (something to think about: how might ADM shares perform over the next 20 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Archer Daniels Midland Co. paid investors a total of $14.06/share in dividends over the 20 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 3.60%. 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 $9.24/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 38.96%.

Another great investment quote to think about:
“When I was young I thought that money was the most important thing in life; now that I am old I know that it is.” — Oscar Wilde