Photo credit:

“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 US Bancorp (NYSE: USB), by taking a look at the investment outcome over a five year holding period.

Start date: 02/11/2016


End date: 02/10/2021
Start price/share: $37.45
End price/share: $47.35
Starting shares: 267.02
Ending shares: 309.35
Dividends reinvested/share: $6.83
Total return: 46.48%
Average annual return: 7.93%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $14,648.79

As we can see, the five year investment result worked out well, with an annualized rate of return of 7.93%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $14,648.79 today (as of 02/10/2021). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 46.48% (something to think about: how might USB shares perform over the next 5 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that US Bancorp paid investors a total of $6.83/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 1.68/share, we calculate that USB has a current yield of approximately 3.55%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 1.68 against the original $37.45/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 9.48%.

More investment wisdom to ponder:
“You’ve got to be careful if you don’t know where you’re going, ’cause you might not get there.” — Yogi Berra