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

— Warren Buffett

The Warren Buffett investment philosophy calls for a long-term investment horizon, where a two-decade holding period, or even longer, would fit right into the strategy. How would such a strategy have worked out for an investment into Medtronic PLC (NYSE: MDT)? Today, we examine the outcome of a two-decade investment into the stock back in 2004.

Start date: 06/14/2004


End date: 06/12/2024
Start price/share: $49.25
End price/share: $82.23
Starting shares: 203.05
Ending shares: 302.51
Dividends reinvested/share: $27.55
Total return: 148.75%
Average annual return: 4.66%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $24,875.81

As we can see, the two-decade investment result worked out as follows, with an annualized rate of return of 4.66%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 20 years ago into $24,875.81 today (as of 06/12/2024). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 148.75% (something to think about: how might MDT shares perform over the next 20 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Medtronic PLC paid investors a total of $27.55/share in dividends over the 20 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 2.8/share, we calculate that MDT has a current yield of approximately 3.41%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 2.8 against the original $49.25/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 6.92%.

Another great investment quote to think about:
“If you can follow only one bit of data, follow the earnings.” — Peter Lynch