“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 longterm 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 General Electric Co (NYSE: GE)? Today, we examine the outcome of a five year investment into the stock back in 2017.
Start date:  09/28/2017 


End date:  09/27/2022  
Start price/share:  $186.48  
End price/share:  $64.47  
Starting shares:  53.63  
Ending shares:  56.40  
Dividends reinvested/share:  $4.97  
Total return:  63.64%  
Average annual return:  18.32%  
Starting investment:  $10,000.00  
Ending investment:  $3,635.62 
As we can see, the five year investment result worked out poorly, with an annualized rate of return of 18.32%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $3,635.62 today (as of 09/27/2022). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 63.64% (something to think about: how might GE shares perform over the next 5 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]
Notice that General Electric Co paid investors a total of $4.97/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 exdate is used for the reinvestment of a given dividend).
Based upon the most recent annualized dividend rate of .32/share, we calculate that GE has a current yield of approximately 0.50%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of .32 against the original $186.48/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 0.27%.
More investment wisdom to ponder:
“If you don’t study any companies, you have the same success buying stocks as you do in a poker game if you bet without looking at your cards.” — Peter Lynch