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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

Investors can learn a lot from Warren Buffett, whose above quote teaches the importance of thinking about investment time horizon, and asking ourselves before buying any given stock: can we envision holding onto it for years — even a five year holding period possibly?

Suppose a “buy-and-hold” investor was considering an investment into CME Group (NASD: CME) back in 2018: back then, such an investor may have been pondering this very same question. Had they answered “yes” to a full five year investment time horizon and then actually held for these past 5 years, here’s how that investment would have turned out.

Start date: 08/14/2018


End date: 08/11/2023
Start price/share: $166.31
End price/share: $205.77
Starting shares: 60.13
Ending shares: 71.02
Dividends reinvested/share: $32.10
Total return: 46.15%
Average annual return: 7.89%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $14,612.52

The above analysis shows the five year investment result worked out well, with an annualized rate of return of 7.89%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $14,612.52 today (as of 08/11/2023). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 46.15% (something to think about: how might CME shares perform over the next 5 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that CME Group paid investors a total of $32.10/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 4.4/share, we calculate that CME has a current yield of approximately 2.14%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 4.4 against the original $166.31/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 1.29%.

More investment wisdom to ponder:
“People who succeed in the stock market also accept periodic losses, setbacks, and unexpected occurrences. Calamitous drops do not scare them out of the game.” — Peter Lynch