The most costly publicly traded stock of all time is Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A), which is trading at $312,619 per share as of Feb. 27, 2020. Berkshire reached an all-time high on January 17, 2020, at $347,400. Due to the impressive shareholder returns and the idiosyncrasies of its creator, this share value is unlikely to be balanced by anything other than continued increases in Berkshire’s share price.
The next company behind Berkshire, in terms of share price, is Seaboard Corporation (SEB), which traded at $3,775 per share as of Feb. 14, 2019. Then there is NVR (NVR) at $2,665, Booking Holdings (BKNG) at $1,911, and Amazon.com (AMZN) at $1,626.
The explanation that such a costly stock price is generally that the company has never completed a share split.
Market Value Top Companies
By market capitalization, as of Feb. 2019, Microsoft (MSFT) is the largest company at $821 billion, followed by Apple ( AAPL) at $804.14 billion, Amazon.com (AMZN) at $798.57 billion, Google (GOOGL) at $782.3 billion, and Berkshire Hathaway at $500.5 billion.
Back in 2000, China’s PetroChina energy giant (PTR) achieved an approximate market value of about $1 trillion during its IPO. However, this value included shares not publicly traded in the estimation of the total share count, and the value did not hold.2 As of Feb. 2019, PTR’s market capitalization amounted to $194.38 billion.
Most Sales Companies
Walmart (WMT) is number one in terms of the world’s largest sales companies — according to the Fortune 500 chart. Walmart ‘s income was $500.3 million in 2017. Behind Walmart was State Grid with $348.9 million in sales, then Sinopec Group with $326.9 million and China National Petroleum with $326 million. Royal Dutch Shell ranks fifth with an annual revenue of $311.8 million, while the sixth and seventh positions are occupied by car giants. Toyota Motor and Volkswagen produce an annual revenue of $265.1 million and $260 million respectively.
Based on U.S.-based companies alone, Walmart still holds the top spot, while ExxonMobil (XOM) is second with annual revenue of $244.3 million. Berkshire Hathaway ranks third with $242.1 million, while Apple is fourth with $229.2 million. Health care companies take the fifth to seventh place: McKesson, UnitedHealth Group, and CVS produced $208.3 million, $201.1 million, and $184.7 million respectively.
Most Private Business
Forbes rates Minnesota-based Cargill as the largest private U.S. corporation with $115.5 billion in annual sales. The business has a workforce of 160,000. Second is Koch Industries with $110 billion in sales and 130,000 workers. The third is the Albertsons supermarket store, with an annual sales of $60.5 billion and 267,000 employees.
The fourth and fifth largest private firms are the accounting giants Deloitte and PricewaterhouseCoopers, raising $43.2 billion and $41.3 billion respectively. Each of them hires more than 236,000 workers.
The Bottom Line
On a metric of pure market value, Apple is the most profitable company of all time. While Amazon reached the $1 trillion market cap mark briefly in September 2018. It is definitely probable that another company’s market cap would exceed Apple’s. Perhaps, though less likely, another business could overtake Berkshire Hathaway as the most costly single stock.