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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

This inspiring quote from Warren Buffett teaches us the importance of considering our investment time horizon when approaching any given investment: Could we envision ourselves holding the stock we are considering for many years? Even a five year holding period potentially?

For “buy-and-hold” investors taking a long-term view, what’s important isn’t the short-term stock market fluctuations that will inevitably occur, but what happens over the long haul. Looking back 5 years to 2016, investors considering an investment into shares of West Pharmaceutical Services, Inc. (NYSE: WST) may have been pondering this very question and thinking about their potential investment result over a full five year time horizon. Here’s how that would have worked out.

Start date: 07/14/2016


End date: 07/13/2021
Start price/share: $78.29
End price/share: $372.65
Starting shares: 127.73
Ending shares: 130.89
Dividends reinvested/share: $2.95
Total return: 387.77%
Average annual return: 37.29%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $48,774.69

As we can see, the five year investment result worked out exceptionally well, with an annualized rate of return of 37.29%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $48,774.69 today (as of 07/13/2021). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 387.77% (something to think about: how might WST shares perform over the next 5 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Many investors out there refuse to own any stock that lacks a dividend; in the case of West Pharmaceutical Services, Inc., investors have received $2.95/share in dividends these past 5 years examined in the exercise above. This means total return was driven not just by share price, but also by the dividends received (and what the investor did with those dividends). For this exercise, what we’ve done with the dividends is to assume they are reinvestted — i.e. used to purchase additional shares (the calculations use closing price on ex-date).

Based upon the most recent annualized dividend rate of .68/share, we calculate that WST has a current yield of approximately 0.18%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of .68 against the original $78.29/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 0.23%.

Here’s one more great investment quote before you go:
“It is remarkable how much long-term advantage people like us have gotten by trying to be consistently not stupid, instead of trying to be very intelligent.” — Charlie Munger