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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 investment philosophy practiced by Warren Buffett calls for investors to take a long-term horizon when making an investment, such as a five year holding period (or even longer), and reconsider making the investment in the first place if unable to envision holding the stock for at least five years. Today, we look at how such a long-term strategy would have done for investors in Costco Wholesale Corp (NASD: COST) back in 2019, holding through to today.

Start date: 06/05/2019


End date: 06/04/2024
Start price/share: $247.96
End price/share: $827.39
Starting shares: 40.33
Ending shares: 43.92
Dividends reinvested/share: $41.75
Total return: 263.39%
Average annual return: 29.42%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $36,334.05

As we can see, the five year investment result worked out exceptionally well, with an annualized rate of return of 29.42%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $36,334.05 today (as of 06/04/2024). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 263.39% (something to think about: how might COST 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 Costco Wholesale Corp, investors have received $41.75/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 4.64/share, we calculate that COST has a current yield of approximately 0.56%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 4.64 against the original $247.96/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 0.23%.

Here’s one more great investment quote before you go:
“As time goes on, I get more and more convinced that the right method of investment is to put fairly large sums into enterprises which one thinks one knows something about and in the management of which one thoroughly believes.” — John Maynard Keynes