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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 2012, and take a look at what happened to investors who asked that very question about Norfolk Southern Corp (NYSE: NSC), by taking a look at the investment outcome over a ten year holding period.

Start date: 05/21/2012


End date: 05/19/2022
Start price/share: $67.41
End price/share: $228.03
Starting shares: 148.35
Ending shares: 186.14
Dividends reinvested/share: $30.05
Total return: 324.45%
Average annual return: 15.55%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $42,432.59

As we can see, the ten year investment result worked out exceptionally well, with an annualized rate of return of 15.55%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 10 years ago into $42,432.59 today (as of 05/19/2022). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 324.45% (something to think about: how might NSC shares perform over the next 10 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Always an important consideration with a dividend-paying company is: should we reinvest our dividends?Over the past 10 years, Norfolk Southern Corp has paid $30.05/share in dividends. For the above analysis, we assume that the investor reinvests dividends into new shares of stock (for the above calculations, the reinvestment is performed using closing price on ex-div date for that dividend).

Based upon the most recent annualized dividend rate of 4.96/share, we calculate that NSC has a current yield of approximately 2.18%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 4.96 against the original $67.41/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 3.23%.

One more investment quote to leave you with:
“While it might seem that anyone can be a value investor, the essential characteristics of this type of investor-patience, discipline, and risk aversion-may well be genetically determined.” — Seth Klarman