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Amazon shares hit $1,000 for the first time

31 May 2017

Amazon, the internet giant that started off selling books and moved to just about everything, hit a milestone yesterday as its stock topped the $1,000 mark for the first time.

The price put the market value of the company at about $478 billion, double that of the world's biggest traditional retailer, Wal-Mart, and over 15 times the size of Target. The value of a $1,000 investment on Amazon's first day of trading in 1997 would exceed $500,000 today.

In addition to changing the retail landscape since becoming a public company 20 years ago, Amazon now formed part of a small cadre of star stocks of companies that had defied Wall Street and shunned stock splits.

Stocks become more affordable with the splits and generate brokerage fees, but companies like Amazon had chosen to reward its long-term investors.

According to financial research firm FactSet, the last time Amazon split its stock was nearly 18 years ago. Another company that shares the philosophy is Alphabet Inc, the parent company of Google.

Shares of only four other US-listed companies are trading over $1,000: online travel booking company Priceline Group Inc, homebuilder NVR Inc, pork producer and ocean transportation company Seaboard Corp and Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

According to FactSet, just 14 other US stocks were trading over $1,000 per share, and the only other tech company in the club was Priceline Group, currently trading around $1,865. It may be noted that Amazon was over four times more valuable than those 14 other companies combined.

In late April, Amazon exceeded estimates posting revenue of $35.7 billion and earnings per share of $1.48, sending the stock on its upward trend. Amazon said sales were up 23 per cent during the quarter and its Amazon Web Services business sales increased 42 per cent, on increased demand for its cloud services business.

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