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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 wisdom of Warren Buffett reflects a value-based philosophy about investing that says investors are buying shares in a business, and encourages strategic thinking about investment time horizon. Before placing a buy order for a stock, a great question we can ask is whether we would still be comfortable making the investment if we couldn’t sell it for many years?

A “buy-and-hold” approach may call for a time horizon that spans a long period of time — maybe even lasting for a five year holding period. Suppose such a “buy-and-hold” investor had looked into buying shares of Duke Energy Corp (NYSE: DUK) back in 2017. Let’s take a look at how such an investment would have worked out for that buy-and-hold investor:

Start date: 11/06/2017


End date: 11/03/2022
Start price/share: $87.87
End price/share: $93.22
Starting shares: 113.80
Ending shares: 140.04
Dividends reinvested/share: $18.97
Total return: 30.55%
Average annual return: 5.49%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $13,057.67

As shown above, the five year investment result worked out well, with an annualized rate of return of 5.49%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $13,057.67 today (as of 11/03/2022). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 30.55% (something to think about: how might DUK shares perform over the next 5 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Duke Energy Corp paid investors a total of $18.97/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 ex-date is used for the reinvestment of a given dividend).

Based upon the most recent annualized dividend rate of 4.02/share, we calculate that DUK has a current yield of approximately 4.31%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 4.02 against the original $87.87/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 4.90%.

More investment wisdom to ponder:
“If you can follow only one bit of data, follow the earnings.” — Peter Lynch