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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 above quote from Warren Buffett is timeless, and brings into focus the choice about time horizon that any investor should think about before buying a stock they are considering. Behind every stock is an actual business; what will that business look like over a five year period?

Today, let’s look backwards in time to 2016, and take a look at what happened to investors who asked that very question about FMC Corp. (NYSE: FMC), by taking a look at the investment outcome over a five year holding period.

Start date: 01/21/2016


End date: 01/20/2021
Start price/share: $30.45
End price/share: $115.47
Starting shares: 328.41
Ending shares: 352.67
Dividends reinvested/share: $5.36
Total return: 307.22%
Average annual return: 32.40%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $40,716.82

The above analysis shows the five year investment result worked out exceptionally well, with an annualized rate of return of 32.40%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $40,716.82 today (as of 01/20/2021). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 307.22% (something to think about: how might FMC shares perform over the next 5 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that FMC Corp. paid investors a total of $5.36/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 1.92/share, we calculate that FMC has a current yield of approximately 1.66%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 1.92 against the original $30.45/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 5.45%.

More investment wisdom to ponder:
“Behind every stock is a company. Find out what it’s doing.” — Peter Lynch