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

— Warren Buffett

The Warren Buffett investment philosophy calls for a long-term investment horizon, where a twenty year holding period, or even longer, would fit right into the strategy. How would such a strategy have worked out for an investment into International Business Machines Corp (NYSE: IBM)? Today, we examine the outcome of a twenty year investment into the stock back in 2000.

Start date: 10/02/2000


End date: 10/01/2020
Start price/share: $117.81
End price/share: $121.09
Starting shares: 84.88
Ending shares: 131.00
Dividends reinvested/share: $60.60
Total return: 58.63%
Average annual return: 2.33%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $15,855.10

As shown above, the twenty year investment result worked out as follows, with an annualized rate of return of 2.33%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 20 years ago into $15,855.10 today (as of 10/01/2020). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 58.63% (something to think about: how might IBM shares perform over the next 20 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that International Business Machines Corp paid investors a total of $60.60/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 6.52/share, we calculate that IBM has a current yield of approximately 5.38%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 6.52 against the original $117.81/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 4.57%.

More investment wisdom to ponder:
“The stock market is filled with individuals who know the price of everything, but the value of nothing.” — Phillip Fisher