What is the most expensive stock of all time and what can we learn from it?

The most expensive stock of all time, based on per-share price, is Berkshire Hathaway's Class A shares, which have reached astronomical values.

May 15, 2024 - 14:01
May 18, 2024 - 13:47
What is the most expensive stock of all time and what can we learn from it?
Most expensive stock

The stock price reflects a company's market value and is influenced by the number of shares available. Companies with high stock prices often haven't split their stock, contributing to the perception of high value. Evaluating a stock involves more than just its price; other factors matter. Let's examine some of the largest U.S. and international companies.

Best companies by stock price

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) holds the record for the highest-priced publicly traded share, reaching $458,675 per share in January 2022. On January 18, 2022, it hit an all-time high of $487,255. Due to remarkable shareholder returns and the unique nature of its founder, it's unlikely that any other stock will match this value except through further increases in Berkshire's share price.

After Berkshire Hathaway, the next company with the highest nominal share price is NVR (NVR) at $5,154.98 per share as of January 2022. Following NVR is Seaboard Corporation (SEB) at $3,731.02 per share, Amazon.com (AMZN) at $2,852.86 per share, and Alphabet, Inc (GOOG) at $2,607.03 per share.

Best companies by market cap

As of January 2022, Apple (AAPL) leads in market capitalization, valued at $2.652 trillion, followed by Microsoft (MSFT) at $2.222 trillion, Google (GOOGL) at $1.725 trillion, Amazon.com (AMZN) at $1.446 trillion, Tesla (TSLA) at $947.92 billion, and Meta (META), formerly Facebook, at $843.34 billion.

In 2007, Chinese energy giant PetroChina (PTR) briefly reached an estimated market value of around $1 trillion. However, as of January 2022, PTR's market capitalization had fallen to just $146.95 billion.

Best companies by revenue

Walmart (WMT) topped the list of global companies by revenue in 2021 with $523.964 billion, followed by State Grid with $383.906 billion, Amazon with $280.522 billion, and China National Petroleum at $379.130 billion.

Among U.S.-headquartered companies in 2020, Walmart retained the top spot in revenue, followed by Amazon, Exxon Mobil, and Apple. Healthcare companies CVS, UnitedHealth Group, and McKesson also ranked highly.

In 2019, Walmart led in revenue among U.S.-headquartered companies, followed by ExxonMobil, Apple, and Berkshire Hathaway. Healthcare companies UnitedHealth Group, McKesson, and CVS also featured prominently in the top rankings.

Best private companies

Forbes ranks Cargill, based in Minnesota, as the largest private U.S. company, with $134.4 billion in annual revenues and 155,000 employees. Koch Industries follows closely behind with $115 billion in revenues and 122,000 employees. Publix Super Markets ranks third with $44.9 billion in annual revenue and 227,000 employees.

Mars and H-E-B are the fourth and fifth largest private companies, generating $40 billion and $32.8 billion, respectively, and each employing over 100,000 individuals.

In terms of market value, Apple has often been considered the most valuable publicly traded company, but Microsoft briefly reached a $2 trillion market cap in June 2021. It is possible that another company's market cap will exceed these measures, and perhaps, though less likely, another company will surpass Berkshire Hathaway as the highest-priced single stock share.

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