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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

Investors can learn a lot from Warren Buffett, whose above quote teaches the importance of thinking about investment time horizon, and asking ourselves before buying any given stock: can we envision holding onto it for years — even a five year holding period possibly?

Suppose a “buy-and-hold” investor was considering an investment into Freeport-McMoran Copper & Gold (NYSE: FCX) back in 2015: back then, such an investor may have been pondering this very same question. Had they answered “yes” to a full five year investment time horizon and then actually held for these past 5 years, here’s how that investment would have turned out.

Start date: 10/27/2015


End date: 10/26/2020
Start price/share: $11.61
End price/share: $17.36
Starting shares: 861.33
Ending shares: 888.53
Dividends reinvested/share: $0.40
Total return: 54.25%
Average annual return: 9.05%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $15,425.22

The above analysis shows the five year investment result worked out well, with an annualized rate of return of 9.05%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $15,425.22 today (as of 10/26/2020). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 54.25% (something to think about: how might FCX shares perform over the next 5 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Freeport-McMoran Copper & Gold paid investors a total of $0.40/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 .2/share, we calculate that FCX has a current yield of approximately 1.15%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of .2 against the original $11.61/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 9.91%.

Here’s one more great investment quote before you go:
“Invest for the long haul. Don’t get too greedy and don’t get too scared.” — Shelby Davis