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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

One of the most important things investors can learn from Warren Buffett, is about how they approach their time horizon for an investment into a stock under consideration. Because immediately after buying shares of a given stock, investors will then be able to check on the day-to-day (and even minute-by-minute) market value. Some days the stock market will be up, other days down. These daily fluctuations can often distract from the long-term view. Today, we look at the result of a five year holding period for an investor who was considering Ross Stores Inc (NASD: ROST) back in 2015, bought the stock, ignored the market’s ups and downs, and simply held through to today.

Start date: 11/25/2015


End date: 11/24/2020
Start price/share: $52.74
End price/share: $113.41
Starting shares: 189.61
Ending shares: 198.43
Dividends reinvested/share: $3.50
Total return: 125.04%
Average annual return: 17.60%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $22,502.43

As shown above, the five year investment result worked out exceptionally well, with an annualized rate of return of 17.60%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $22,502.43 today (as of 11/24/2020). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 125.04% (something to think about: how might ROST shares perform over the next 5 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Ross Stores Inc paid investors a total of $3.50/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 1.14/share, we calculate that ROST has a current yield of approximately 1.01%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 1.14 against the original $52.74/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 1.92%.

Here’s one more great investment quote before you go:
“Markets can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent.” — John Maynard Keynes