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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

One of the most important things investors can learn from Warren Buffett, is about how they approach their time horizon for an investment into a stock under consideration. Because immediately after buying shares of a given stock, investors will then be able to check on the day-to-day (and even minute-by-minute) market value. Some days the stock market will be up, other days down. These daily fluctuations can often distract from the long-term view. Today, we look at the result of a five year holding period for an investor who was considering Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. (NYSE: AJG) back in 2018, bought the stock, ignored the market’s ups and downs, and simply held through to today.

Start date: 12/28/2018


End date: 12/27/2023
Start price/share: $72.52
End price/share: $223.01
Starting shares: 137.89
Ending shares: 148.21
Dividends reinvested/share: $9.68
Total return: 230.53%
Average annual return: 27.01%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $33,051.38

As shown above, the five year investment result worked out exceptionally well, with an annualized rate of return of 27.01%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $33,051.38 today (as of 12/27/2023). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 230.53% (something to think about: how might AJG 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 Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., investors have received $9.68/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 2.2/share, we calculate that AJG has a current yield of approximately 0.99%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 2.2 against the original $72.52/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 1.37%.

Another great investment quote to think about:
“Value investing means really asking what are the best values, and not assuming that because something looks expensive that it is, or assuming that because a stock is down in price and trades at low multiples that it is a bargain.” — Bill Miller