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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 investment philosophy practiced by Warren Buffett calls for investors to take a long-term horizon when making an investment, such as a five year holding period (or even longer), and reconsider making the investment in the first place if unable to envision holding the stock for at least five years. Today, we look at how such a long-term strategy would have done for investors in Walmart Inc (NYSE: WMT) back in 2015, holding through to today.

Start date: 09/17/2015


End date: 09/16/2020
Start price/share: $64.47
End price/share: $136.26
Starting shares: 155.11
Ending shares: 174.70
Dividends reinvested/share: $10.35
Total return: 138.05%
Average annual return: 18.93%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $23,804.74

As shown above, the five year investment result worked out exceptionally well, with an annualized rate of return of 18.93%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $23,804.74 today (as of 09/16/2020). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 138.05% (something to think about: how might WMT shares perform over the next 5 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Beyond share price change, another component of WMT’s total return these past 5 years has been the payment by Walmart Inc of $10.35/share in dividends to shareholders. Automatic reinvestment of dividends can be a wonderful way to compound returns, and for the above calculations we presume that dividends are reinvested into additional shares of stock. (For the purpose of these calcuations, the closing price on ex-date is used).

Based upon the most recent annualized dividend rate of 2.16/share, we calculate that WMT has a current yield of approximately 1.59%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 2.16 against the original $64.47/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 2.47%.

More investment wisdom to ponder:
“The key to investing is not assessing how much an industry is going to affect society, or how much it will grow, but rather determining the competitive advantage of any given company and, above all, the durability of that advantage.” — Warren Buffett