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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

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 Valero Energy Corp (NYSE: VLO), by taking a look at the investment outcome over a five year holding period.

Start date: 12/17/2018


End date: 12/14/2023
Start price/share: $72.58
End price/share: $129.18
Starting shares: 137.78
Ending shares: 173.45
Dividends reinvested/share: $19.44
Total return: 124.06%
Average annual return: 17.53%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $22,405.74

As we can see, the five year investment result worked out exceptionally well, with an annualized rate of return of 17.53%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $22,405.74 today (as of 12/14/2023). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 124.06% (something to think about: how might VLO shares perform over the next 5 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Many investors out there refuse to own any stock that lacks a dividend; in the case of Valero Energy Corp, investors have received $19.44/share in dividends these past 5 years examined in the exercise above. This means total return was driven not just by share price, but also by the dividends received (and what the investor did with those dividends). For this exercise, what we’ve done with the dividends is to assume they are reinvestted — i.e. used to purchase additional shares (the calculations use closing price on ex-date).

Based upon the most recent annualized dividend rate of 4.08/share, we calculate that VLO has a current yield of approximately 3.16%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 4.08 against the original $72.58/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 4.35%.

One more investment quote to leave you with:
“Nearly every time I strayed from the herd, I’ve made a lot of money. Wandering away from the action is the way to find the new action.” — Jim Rogers