“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 Delta Air Lines Inc (NYSE: DAL)? Today, we examine the outcome of a five year investment into the stock back in 2018.
Start date:  05/14/2018 


End date:  05/11/2023  
Start price/share:  $52.09  
End price/share:  $33.22  
Starting shares:  191.98  
Ending shares:  201.19  
Dividends reinvested/share:  $2.61  
Total return:  33.17%  
Average annual return:  7.75%  
Starting investment:  $10,000.00  
Ending investment:  $6,683.81 
As shown above, the five year investment result worked out poorly, with an annualized rate of return of 7.75%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $6,683.81 today (as of 05/11/2023). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 33.17% (something to think about: how might DAL shares perform over the next 5 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]
Notice that Delta Air Lines Inc paid investors a total of $2.61/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 1.61/share, we calculate that DAL has a current yield of approximately 4.85%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 1.61 against the original $52.09/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 9.31%.
Here’s one more great investment quote before you go:
“Markets can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent.” — John Maynard Keynes