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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 International Paper Co (NYSE: IP)? Today, we examine the outcome of a five year investment into the stock back in 2017.

Start date: 12/20/2017


End date: 12/19/2022
Start price/share: $54.90
End price/share: $34.92
Starting shares: 182.15
Ending shares: 225.47
Dividends reinvested/share: $9.44
Total return: -21.27%
Average annual return: -4.67%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $7,873.14

As we can see, the five year investment result worked out poorly, with an annualized rate of return of -4.67%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $7,873.14 today (as of 12/19/2022). On a total return basis, that’s a result of -21.27% (something to think about: how might IP shares perform over the next 5 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that International Paper Co paid investors a total of $9.44/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 1.85/share, we calculate that IP has a current yield of approximately 5.30%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 1.85 against the original $54.90/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 9.65%.

One more piece of investment wisdom to leave you with:
“As in roulette, same is true of the stock trader, who will find that the expense of trading weights the dice heavily against him.” — Benjamin Graham