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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 Western Digital Corp (NASD: WDC)? Today, we examine the outcome of a five year investment into the stock back in 2017.

Start date: 03/16/2017


End date: 03/15/2022
Start price/share: $77.14
End price/share: $45.94
Starting shares: 129.63
Ending shares: 144.50
Dividends reinvested/share: $6.50
Total return: -33.62%
Average annual return: -7.87%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $6,637.51

As we can see, the five year investment result worked out poorly, with an annualized rate of return of -7.87%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $6,637.51 today (as of 03/15/2022). On a total return basis, that’s a result of -33.62% (something to think about: how might WDC shares perform over the next 5 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Western Digital Corp paid investors a total of $6.50/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 2/share, we calculate that WDC has a current yield of approximately 4.35%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 2 against the original $77.14/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 5.64%.

One more piece of investment wisdom to leave you with:
“Markets can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent.” — John Maynard Keynes