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“When we own portions of outstanding businesses with outstanding managements, our favorite holding period is forever.”

— Warren Buffett

The Warren Buffett investment philosophy calls for a long-term investment horizon, where a two-decade holding period, or even longer, would fit right into the strategy. How would such a strategy have worked out for an investment into Hershey Company (NYSE: HSY)? Today, we examine the outcome of a two-decade investment into the stock back in 2003.

Start date: 01/30/2003


End date: 01/27/2023
Start price/share: $32.14
End price/share: $218.76
Starting shares: 311.14
Ending shares: 491.33
Dividends reinvested/share: $38.28
Total return: 974.84%
Average annual return: 12.60%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $107,411.36

The above analysis shows the two-decade investment result worked out quite well, with an annualized rate of return of 12.60%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 20 years ago into $107,411.36 today (as of 01/27/2023). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 974.84% (something to think about: how might HSY shares perform over the next 20 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Hershey Company paid investors a total of $38.28/share in dividends over the 20 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 4.144/share, we calculate that HSY has a current yield of approximately 1.89%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 4.144 against the original $32.14/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 5.88%.

Another great investment quote to think about:
“In the long run, it’s not just how much money you make that will determine your future prosperity. It’s how much of that money you put to work by saving it and investing it.” — Peter Lynch