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“Only buy something that you’d be perfectly happy to hold if the market shut down for 10 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 ten 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 Cerner Corp. (NASD: CERN) back in 2010, holding through to today.

Start date: 09/21/2010


End date: 09/18/2020
Start price/share: $20.16
End price/share: $69.85
Starting shares: 496.03
Ending shares: 502.54
Dividends reinvested/share: $0.90
Total return: 251.02%
Average annual return: 13.38%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $35,104.64

As we can see, the ten year investment result worked out quite well, with an annualized rate of return of 13.38%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 10 years ago into $35,104.64 today (as of 09/18/2020). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 251.02% (something to think about: how might CERN shares perform over the next 10 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Many investors out there refuse to own any stock that lacks a dividend; in the case of Cerner Corp., investors have received $0.90/share in dividends these past 10 years examined in the exercise above. This means total return was driven not just by share price, but also by the dividends received (and what the investor did with those dividends). For this exercise, what we’ve done with the dividends is to assume they are reinvestted — i.e. used to purchase additional shares (the calculations use closing price on ex-date).

Based upon the most recent annualized dividend rate of .72/share, we calculate that CERN has a current yield of approximately 1.03%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of .72 against the original $20.16/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 5.11%.

More investment wisdom to ponder:
“Calling someone who trades actively in the market an investor is like calling someone who repeatedly engages in one-night stands a romantic.” — Warren Buffett