There's nothing better in the world of investing than seeing a stock you buy creep into triple-digit return territory. Some stocks only take months to do so, while others take years, if not decades, to double up.
Determining how long this will take is far from a science, but it's nevertheless an interesting exercise for investors. This is especially true for long-term investors, who seek to profit off the law of compounding returns.
If you're a current or prospective investor in JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM), here's how the math works out. Assuming the nation's biggest bank by assets continues to grow at its current rate -- a median year-over-year increase in book value per share of 6% -- then its stock will double in 11 to 12 years.
I use book value per share as the gauge because, fundamentally, that's what dictates a bank's stock price. Over a short stretch of time, a bank's book value per share and share price might diverge, but over a long period of multiple years the two will increasingly mirror each other.
For those of you who like shorthand ways to measure how long it would take a bank's stock to double in this way, you can use the Rule of 72. By dividing 72 by the growth rate in a bank's book value per share, you'll get the number of years it will take the figure to double. So, in this case, you would dividend 72 by 6, which would give you 12 years.
It's important to appreciate, of course, that this is just an estimate, and that forecasts like this are inherently inaccurate, given the impossibility of predicting the future. To this end, there are a lot of variables that will influence the amount of time it will take JPMorgan Chase's book value per share to double, as well as the return an investor can expect from the bank's stock.
In the first case, the valuation of its shares will fluctuate over time. JPMorgan Chase's stock currently trades for a 36% premium to book value. That's a fair valuation, but it could easily increase or decrease in the years ahead depending on the bank's fortunes.
There's also the possibility that JPMorgan Chase's book value per share could grow at a more rapid rate each year if its profitability improves, as the more money it makes, the faster its book value per share is likely to grow.
If interest rates were to rise, for instance, JPMorgan could make billions more in income each year. And if the regulatory environment is eased, allowing banks to cut back on compliance costs, this would further pad the New York City-based bank's bottom line.
If either were to happen, the growth in JPMorgan Chase's book value per share would accelerate, shortening the amount of time it'd take the bank's stock to double.
Finally, while dividends don't have a direct impact a bank's stock price, they do have an indirect impact and should be factored into an investor's analysis. In JPMorgan Chase's case, its shares yield 2.3%. If this stays constant, and the distributions are reinvested back into the bank's stock, then that would mean that an investment in the bank would double in total value in more like eight to nine years.
At the end of the day, while predictions like these are inherently vulnerable to error, assuming that JPMorgan Chase is able to keep chugging along at its current rate of growth, this is the timeframe over which investors can expect to produce a one-bagger.