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

— Warren Buffett

The above quote from Warren Buffett is timeless, and brings into focus the choice about time horizon that any investor should think about before buying a stock they are considering. Behind every stock is an actual business; what will that business look like over a twenty year period?

Today, let’s look backwards in time to 2003, and take a look at what happened to investors who asked that very question about Illumina Inc (NASD: ILMN), by taking a look at the investment outcome over a twenty year holding period.

Start date: 11/17/2003


End date: 11/14/2023
Start price/share: $3.15
End price/share: $97.49
Starting shares: 3,174.60
Ending shares: 3,174.60
Dividends reinvested/share: $0.00
Total return: 2,994.92%
Average annual return: 18.72%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $309,660.71

As shown above, the twenty year investment result worked out exceptionally well, with an annualized rate of return of 18.72%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 20 years ago into $309,660.71 today (as of 11/14/2023). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 2,994.92% (something to think about: how might ILMN shares perform over the next 20 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

One more piece of investment wisdom to leave you with:
“In the end, how your investments behave is much less important than how you behave.” — Benjamin Graham