Editor: The stock API was deprecated so the latest stock price and dividend information is from MARCH 2018. The current workaround is manually add dividends from there forward. We are searching for an alternative API. Let us know if there is interest in a paid option here (we are also looking for a free option, contact us if you have a lead).
Here is a stock return calculator which automatically calculates dividend reinvestment (DRIP). It has daily resolution and properly accounts for stock splits and special dividends.
There are currently ~3,200 American stocks in our database. You can find the full list of supported tickers here. We cache results for up to one week; the tool adjusts starting and closing dates automatically when you hit ‘calculate’. Read below the tool for full instructions and notes on bug and feature requests.
The Stock Return Calculator with Dividend Reinvestment (DRIP)!
Financial Data provided by Quandl.
Note: The calculator does not account for spin-offs. If your timeframe includes a spin-off, you need to do manual calculations.
How To Use the Dividend Reinvestment Calculator (DRIP)
Note: the stock total return calculator isn’t clairvoyant. If you see a future date the tool rounded to the closest snap-point.
- Stock Ticker: Enter a valid ticker
- Starting Amount ($): Enter an initial investment amount
- Starting Date: Enter when an investment was first made
- Ending Date: Enter when an investment was sold (or date to check the investment value)
- Reinvestment ($): The amount invested in every period selected from the pull-down below it. (Like a DRIP or Dividend Reinvestment Plan)
- Frequency: How often this dollar cost averaging or paycheck contribution went into the stock.
- Total Amount: The value of the investment on the ‘Ending Date’.
- Annualized Investment: Our estimate to the amount returned annually by the investment, including any dollar cost averaging.
- Graph: The value of the account over time – drag your cursor over points to see value on a date (apologies in advance to mobile users)
- Dividends: We list the ex-dividend date and dividend amount for all dividends in the set.
How do the Periodic Stock Investments Work?
The tool makes a best effort to time dividend reinvestments based on your inputs. Dates are tricky, especially when mashed up against market holidays and weekends and leap years. In reality, you can only periodically invest if the market is open, and usually only after you receive money – perhaps a paycheck?
That in mind, here’s how the periodic investment algorithm in the tool works:
- Every Week: Invest every 5 market days
- Every Other Week: Invest every 10 market days
- Every 4th Week: Invest every 21 market days
- Every Quarter: Invest every 63 market days
The day counts are derived from the roughly 252 trading days a year in the stock market. In the stock reinvestment calculator, if a dividend and reinvestment occur on the same day, dividends are applied first and the investment is calculated from the discounted price. The tool uses the ex-dividend date as the payout date.
What About Stock Valuation?
There’s a reason for the common warning “past performance is no guarantee of future results”. Even if you see a previously successful investment (and perhaps, especially) you can’t count on returns to carry on in the same manner.
Stock valuation is an art more than a science. One school of thought, value, tries to model a fair value based on the characteristics of the company. Along those lines, we have a few tools for you to attempt to value stocks:
- A Graham Number Calculator which uses Benjamin Graham’s method to estimate a fair price.
- A Discounted Cash Flow Calculator which uses estimated future earnings or cash flow growth to estimate the fair value of a stock or investment. (This one can auto-populate many stocks in this set).
- A Dividend Discount Model Calculator which also estimates net present value like the DCF calculator, but uses dividend history and growth instead. (It also can auto-populate many stocks.)
There are no guarantees in stock valuation – it’s hard to predict the future. However, those tools might help point you in the right direction.
Sources & Methodology on the Stock Total Return Calculator
The calculator internally creates a datastructure which contains the initial purchase and the price fluctuations using stock closing prices on each day. (Normal) splits and dividend events cause us to increase the modeled number of shares held. Reverse splits will reduce the number of shares held.
Limitations and Disclaimers
The stock total return calculated is idealized, based on closing prices, and will not match the exact returns. We are not modeling taxes, management fees, dividend payment timing, slippage, or other sources of error. It is possible that the dataset contains errors as well (let Quandl know and help improve the dataset).
Bugs and Feature Requests for the Stock Total Return Calculator
Outside of ads, I’m not compensated to build and maintain this tool. If you want something better or want more features, make a contracting inquiry.
- Results are cached for one week so as not to overwhelm our data provider. Your data can be up to 5 trading days off if someone else checked a ticker. The tool will automatically show the true closing date.
- It has to fetch 2 large pieces of data: the entire ticker list then a daily stock record. At launch, some daily histories date to 1970. Results may take up to a minute (or more) depending on your internet connection.
- This information is for informational and research purposes only. We will not respond to requests to provide investment returns in a legal capacity. We can only help you with research inquiries. You probably need a professional known as a “forensic accountant” for audited results for legal purposes.
- The full list of available tickers is available here – if your ticker isn’t listed it’s not a bug.
- Let me know if you find a bug. Let me know which ticker caused the issue and I can debug it.
- The tool doesn’t account for spin-offs – you’ll need to work around spin-offs manually.
Musings on the Any Stock Dividend Reinvestment Calculator
We originally built a version of this stock total return calculator for DQYDJ’s five year anniversary (and 749th published article). We improved the tool to have daily resolution, handle splits properly, and to move to Quandl’s WIKI EOD Stock Info database.
Our motivation is to produce fair, dividend reinvested return comparisons to the idealized reinvestment tools we have elsewhere on the site. For comparison purposes, try our Dow Jones Industrial Average Calculator, S&P 500 Calculator, the Wilshire 5000 Calculator, or the 10-Year Treasury Calculator. (Please turn off inflation on those calculators to be comparable.) We also attempted a similar comparison in our Any House Return Calculator tool, which uses median home prices per MSA to estimate returns on housing.
Even though we’ve been building this style of calculator for years, prices returns are the most common returns quoted by the financial press.
Price is just one element of return, however. Stocks may payout dividends in dollars per share or in new shares of stock; simply quoting price returns misses a real (and significant!) portion of returns. It is especially egregious for special dividends, which can payout large cash returns overnight – while lowering a stock’s price. With this calculator, you can finally do stock total return math very simply, by only providing a few dates and some investment information.
We hope you enjoy the any stock dividend reinvestment calculator. Use it in good health, and may your dividend payouts be many!