Amazon has now joined an exclusive Wall Street club of companies with shares valued at over $1,000 — not bad for a bookseller that took a chance on a mystical place called the world wide web.
Just two decades after CEO Jeff Bezos’ online retail behemoth went public, the company briefly crossed the $1,000 threshold during trading on Tuesday, beating tech giant Alphabet to the punch. Alphabet’s Class A shares opened at $996.21 on Wednesday, a few dollars shy of hitting the four-figure milestone for the first time.
While Amazon’s shares are now teetering under $1,000, crossing that threshold puts the company in an exclusive club.
Only one other technology company — Priceline Group — trades above $1,000, with shares priced at $1,859 as of Wednesday afternoon.
A few other U.S. listed companies trade above $1,000 per share, perhaps most notably Warren Buffett’s holding company, Berkshire Hathaway, and Seaboard Corporation, an agribusiness and transportation conglomerate.
While some mall mainstays have struggled, Amazon has been thriving. It took Amazon 18 years as a publicly traded company to catch up to Walmart, but just two more years to become twice as big as the ultimate brick-and-mortar superstore.
Amazon reported a $724 million profit for the first quarter of 2017, delighting investors and propelling its stock even closer to the $1,000 per share milestone.
Amazon’s mark cap — the total value of outstanding shares — is $475 billion. By comparison, Walmart is worth $237.5 billion.
As a company that has forever changed the way we shop and consume, Amazon has also made it a point to eschew some of the traditional practices of other publicly traded companies.
Amazon’s stock hasn’t split in nearly 18 years. While some companies may split as a way to make its shares more affordable and to reward long-term investors, Amazon hasn’t bought into the practice.
The company’s stock has split just three times since it went public in 1997. The following year, Amazon issued a 2-for-1 split. In January 1999, Amazon offered a 3-for-1 split. Later that year, it gave shareholders a 2-for-1 split.
Of course, it hasn’t always been smooth sailing for Amazon. Remember what a flop the Fire phone — Amazon’s entry into the smartphone market — was?
That same year, in 2014, the company’s aggressive spending seemed to be a red flag to investors after Amazon reported losses of 95 cents per share, while analysts had predicted losses of 74 cents per share.
Consistently posting a profit is also something relatively new for Amazon, with the company now on a streak of eight consecutive quarters — perhaps proving to investors who stuck with them that the halcyon days they promised are finally here.