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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 Warren Buffett investment philosophy calls for a long-term investment horizon, where a decade-long 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 decade-long investment into the stock back in 2011.

Start date: 02/08/2011


End date: 02/05/2021
Start price/share: $166.05
End price/share: $121.79
Starting shares: 60.22
Ending shares: 83.47
Dividends reinvested/share: $49.70
Total return: 1.66%
Average annual return: 0.16%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $10,161.16

As we can see, the decade-long investment result worked out as follows, with an annualized rate of return of 0.16%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 10 years ago into $10,161.16 today (as of 02/05/2021). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 1.66% (something to think about: how might IBM shares perform over the next 10 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that International Business Machines Corp paid investors a total of $49.70/share in dividends over the 10 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 5.35%. 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 $166.05/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 3.22%.

More investment wisdom to ponder:
“I think you have to learn that there’s a company behind every stock, and that there’s only one real reason why stocks go up. Companies go from doing poorly to doing well or small companies grow to large companies.” — Peter Lynch