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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

A key lesson we can learn from Warren Buffett, is about how to think about a potential stock investment in the context of a long-term time horizon. Every investor in a stock has a choice: bite our fingernails over the short-term ups and downs that are inevitable with the stock market, or, zero in on stocks we are comfortable to simply buy and hold for the long haul — maybe even a five year holding period. Heck, investors can even choose to completely ignore the stock market’s short-run quotations and instead go into their initial investment planning to hold on for years and years regardless of the fluctuations in price that might occur next.

Today, we examine what would have happened over a five year holding period, had you decided back in 2018 to buy shares of Abbott Laboratories (NYSE: ABT) and simply hold through to today.

Start date: 09/12/2018


End date: 09/11/2023
Start price/share: $66.97
End price/share: $102.45
Starting shares: 149.32
Ending shares: 162.11
Dividends reinvested/share: $8.21
Total return: 66.08%
Average annual return: 10.68%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $16,609.09

The above analysis shows the five year investment result worked out quite well, with an annualized rate of return of 10.68%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $16,609.09 today (as of 09/11/2023). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 66.08% (something to think about: how might ABT shares perform over the next 5 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Beyond share price change, another component of ABT’s total return these past 5 years has been the payment by Abbott Laboratories of $8.21/share in dividends to shareholders. Automatic reinvestment of dividends can be a wonderful way to compound returns, and for the above calculations we presume that dividends are reinvested into additional shares of stock. (For the purpose of these calcuations, the closing price on ex-date is used).

Based upon the most recent annualized dividend rate of 2.04/share, we calculate that ABT has a current yield of approximately 1.99%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 2.04 against the original $66.97/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 2.97%.

One more investment quote to leave you with:
“The idea that a bell rings to signal when to get into or out of the stock market is simply not credible. After nearly fifty years in this business, I don’t know anybody who has done it successfully and consistently.” — Jack Bogle