Photo credit:

“I buy on the assumption that they could close the market the next day and not reopen it for five years.”

— 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 five year period?

Today, let’s look backwards in time to 2018, and take a look at what happened to investors who asked that very question about United Parcel Service Inc (NYSE: UPS), by taking a look at the investment outcome over a five year holding period.

Start date: 11/14/2018


End date: 11/13/2023
Start price/share: $109.50
End price/share: $138.17
Starting shares: 91.32
Ending shares: 108.02
Dividends reinvested/share: $25.43
Total return: 49.26%
Average annual return: 8.34%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $14,926.02

The above analysis shows the five year investment result worked out well, with an annualized rate of return of 8.34%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $14,926.02 today (as of 11/13/2023). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 49.26% (something to think about: how might UPS shares perform over the next 5 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that United Parcel Service Inc paid investors a total of $25.43/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 6.48/share, we calculate that UPS has a current yield of approximately 4.69%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 6.48 against the original $109.50/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 4.28%.

One more piece of investment wisdom to leave you with:
“If you can follow only one bit of data, follow the earnings.” — Peter Lynch