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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 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 ten year period?

Today, let’s look backwards in time to 2011, and take a look at what happened to investors who asked that very question about Hershey Company (NYSE: HSY), by taking a look at the investment outcome over a ten year holding period.

Start date: 06/30/2011


End date: 06/29/2021
Start price/share: $56.85
End price/share: $172.00
Starting shares: 175.90
Ending shares: 221.25
Dividends reinvested/share: $23.79
Total return: 280.55%
Average annual return: 14.29%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $38,053.99

The above analysis shows the ten year investment result worked out quite well, with an annualized rate of return of 14.29%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 10 years ago into $38,053.99 today (as of 06/29/2021). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 280.55% (something to think about: how might HSY shares perform over the next 10 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Hershey Company paid investors a total of $23.79/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 3.216/share, we calculate that HSY has a current yield of approximately 1.87%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 3.216 against the original $56.85/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 3.29%.

Here’s one more great investment quote before you go:
“Our job is to find a few intelligent things to do, not to keep up with every damn thing in the world.” — Charlie Munger