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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 2017, investors considering an investment into shares of Applied Materials, Inc. (NASD: AMAT) 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: 02/06/2017


End date: 02/03/2022
Start price/share: $35.18
End price/share: $136.51
Starting shares: 284.25
Ending shares: 302.91
Dividends reinvested/share: $3.74
Total return: 313.51%
Average annual return: 32.87%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $41,348.37

As shown above, the five year investment result worked out exceptionally well, with an annualized rate of return of 32.87%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $41,348.37 today (as of 02/03/2022). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 313.51% (something to think about: how might AMAT shares perform over the next 5 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Applied Materials, Inc. paid investors a total of $3.74/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 .96/share, we calculate that AMAT has a current yield of approximately 0.70%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of .96 against the original $35.18/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 1.99%.

Here’s one more great investment quote before you go:
“People who succeed in the stock market also accept periodic losses, setbacks, and unexpected occurrences. Calamitous drops do not scare them out of the game.” — Peter Lynch