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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 Warren Buffett investment philosophy calls for a long-term investment horizon, where a five year holding period, or even longer, would fit right into the strategy. How would such a strategy have worked out for an investment into Ecolab Inc (NYSE: ECL)? Today, we examine the outcome of a five year investment into the stock back in 2016.

Start date: 05/06/2016


End date: 05/05/2021
Start price/share: $117.05
End price/share: $227.94
Starting shares: 85.43
Ending shares: 90.17
Dividends reinvested/share: $8.50
Total return: 105.52%
Average annual return: 15.50%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $20,554.64

As shown above, the five year investment result worked out exceptionally well, with an annualized rate of return of 15.50%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $20,554.64 today (as of 05/05/2021). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 105.52% (something to think about: how might ECL shares perform over the next 5 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Beyond share price change, another component of ECL’s total return these past 5 years has been the payment by Ecolab Inc of $8.50/share in dividends to shareholders. Automatic reinvestment of dividends can be a wonderful way to compound returns, and for the above calculations we presume that dividends are reinvested into additional shares of stock. (For the purpose of these calcuations, the closing price on ex-date is used).

Based upon the most recent annualized dividend rate of 1.92/share, we calculate that ECL has a current yield of approximately 0.84%. 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 $117.05/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 0.72%.

One more piece of investment wisdom to leave you with:
“If you’re looking for a home run, a great investment for five years or 10 years or more, then the only way to beat this enormous fog that covers the future is to identify a long-term trend that will give a particular business some sort of edge.” — Ralph Wanger