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$550.00 (position’s 12/31/15 value) - $515.00 (12/31/15 cost-basis) / $515.00 X 100 = 6.80% return

The basic calculation is simple, but reinvesting the dividends makes it complex.

As a basic 1 yr calculation, most would ignore the dividends--

Then its (550/506.95 - 1) x 100 = 8.492%

Some would use the share price on 12/31 divided by the share price on 1/4/15 and add in the yield of the dividend based on the 1/4/15 price.

In Motley Fools CAPs they subtract the dividends from your cost basis as paid.

For multiple years, most would use the compound interest formula on the final value and initial value. FV/IV = (1.0y)^n where y is the yield percentage and n is the number of whole years. Usually you solve for y using logarithms.
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