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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 The Gap Inc (NYSE: GPS)? Today, we examine the outcome of a twenty year investment into the stock back in 2001.

Start date: 02/05/2001


End date: 02/02/2021
Start price/share: $30.65
End price/share: $20.75
Starting shares: 326.26
Ending shares: 483.23
Dividends reinvested/share: $9.51
Total return: 0.27%
Average annual return: 0.01%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $10,020.02

As shown above, the twenty year investment result worked out as follows, with an annualized rate of return of 0.01%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 20 years ago into $10,020.02 today (as of 02/02/2021). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 0.27% (something to think about: how might GPS shares perform over the next 20 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that The Gap Inc paid investors a total of $9.51/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 .97/share, we calculate that GPS has a current yield of approximately 4.67%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of .97 against the original $30.65/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 15.24%.

Here’s one more great investment quote before you go:
“Ensure management’s interests are aligned with shareholders.” — Sam Zell