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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 Exxon Mobil Corp (NYSE: XOM)? Today, we examine the outcome of a five year investment into the stock back in 2015.

Start date: 09/23/2015


End date: 09/22/2020
Start price/share: $72.30
End price/share: $35.53
Starting shares: 138.31
Ending shares: 172.72
Dividends reinvested/share: $16.04
Total return: -38.63%
Average annual return: -9.30%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $6,136.49

As shown above, the five year investment result worked out poorly, with an annualized rate of return of -9.30%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $6,136.49 today (as of 09/22/2020). On a total return basis, that’s a result of -38.63% (something to think about: how might XOM shares perform over the next 5 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Exxon Mobil Corp paid investors a total of $16.04/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 3.48/share, we calculate that XOM has a current yield of approximately 9.79%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 3.48 against the original $72.30/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 13.54%.

Here’s one more great investment quote before you go:
“Behind every stock is a company. Find out what it’s doing.” — Peter Lynch