8 Most Expensive Stocks on the Market

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Although the modern stock market didn’t appear in the U.S. until the 1790s, an early version of public trading can be found in 15th century Antwerp. At that time, Antwerp (modern-day Belgium) became the international hub of trade, with merchants buying goods with the anticipation that prices would rise and they could enjoy a net profit later on.

Eventually, in 1611, the Dutch East India Company became the first publicly traded business, with shares trading on Amsterdam’s stock exchange. Interestingly, in the early years of the Amsterdam stock exchange, the Dutch East India Company was often the only business with trading activity.

Finally, in the 1790s, the Philadelphia Stock Exchange was formed — leading to the modern American stock market we have today.

With such a long history, it’s not surprising that the U.S. stock market has seen some big ups and downs. Beyond crashes like the Great Depression and the financial crisis of 2008, the U.S. stock market has been home to major economic growth. Part of that growth comes from the success of a few big businesses. These companies feature the most expensive stocks on the market — and you might be surprised by just how much they cost.

  1. AutoZone
  2. Highest Price: $1,737
    Average Annual Return: 17.62%
    IPO Price: Unknown
    Symbol: AZO
    AutoZone
    photo source: aftermarketnews.com

    AutoZone has become synonymous with car repair and maintenance, but the company surprisingly has roots in the food industry. Malone & Hyde Inc. was a food wholesaler, but the grandson of the owner was interested in starting a retail automotive parts chain. After sharing his idea with leaders at Malone & Hyde Inc., the new company was launched in 1979.

    Originally called Auto Shack, the business expanded to every state in the U.S. and opened stores in Mexico, Brazil, and Puerto Rico.

    Today, AutoZone is the largest auto parts retailer in America, with over 5,000 stores across the country. With such a big share of the market, it’s no surprise that the company has done well on the U.S. stock exchange: In September 2021, AutoZone stock prices passed $1,700 per share. The company also has impressive returns, averaging 17.62% over 10 years.

    Did you know?

    When the first Auto Shack (a.k.a AutoZone) opened in 1979, the new store raked in about $300. Today, that’s the equivalent of approximately $1,133 — not a bad start for a new company!


  3. Chipotle
  4. Highest Price: $1,944.05
    Average Annual Return: 19.87%
    IPO Price: $22
    Symbol: CMG
    Chipotle
    photo source: moneyinc.com

    Anyone who got their hands on Chipotle stock at its IPO is probably pretty happy. Joining the stock market at just $22 per share, the company’s stock eventually reached an incredible $1,944.05 in September 2021.

    The company’s stock also shows an impressive average return rate of over 19%.

    Although Chipotle is a big player in the food industry today, the company started as a small restaurant in Denver, Colorado in 1993. With an $85,000 loan from his father, Chipotle founder Steve Ells didn’t have to wait long for success as his first restaurant started selling over 1,000 burritos a day after just one month of operation.

    Did you know?

    Chipotle faced some public scrutiny in 2015 when the company faced an E-coli outbreak. Initial reports from the CDC said 50 cases of the illness were connected to Chipotle, but the organization later reduced that number to 37 after further investigation.


  5. Booking Holdings
  6. Highest Price: $2,505.10
    Average Annual Return: 18.06%
    IPO Price: $16
    Symbol: BKNG
    Booking Holdings
    photo source: phocuswire.com

    Booking Holdings is the owner of several travel-related businesses, including kayak.com and booking.com. The company has been in business since 1997 when Jay Walker launched priceline.com, a successful travel website. Later, the business would be rebranded as Priceline Group as it acquired other travel-related businesses. Then, in 2018, the company landed on its current name: Booking Holdings.

    With an IPO price of just $16, Booking Holdings stock would eventually reach a whopping $2,505.10 on April 28, 2021. Although the company’s stock was significantly impacted by COVID-related travel restrictions, it has since indicated an upward trajectory — with over $2 billion in quarterly sales reported in August 2021.

    Did you know?

    Beyond its impressive 10-year return rate and high stock price, Booking Holdings has received praise from publications like Forbes, which named the company one of 2015’s “Most Innovative” businesses.


  7. Alphabet
  8. Highest Price: $2,904.31
    Average Annual Return: 26.35%
    IPO Price: $85
    Symbol: GOOGL
    Alphabet
    photo source: wired.com

    Alphabet is the parent company of Google — the most visited website in the world. With over 86 billion monthly visits, the website is so wildly successful that “googling” has become synonymous with “searching.”

    As the owner of such a successful website, it’s no surprise that Alphabet is a trillion-dollar company.

    Incredibly, Alphabet’s valuation has continued to climb over the years, giving the company a record share price of over $2,900.

    Did you know?

    Alphabet has two types of shares on the stock market: class A and C. Although these classes tend to trade at similar prices, owners of class A stock can vote on company decisions while owners of class C cannot.


  9. Amazon
  10. Highest Price: $3,731.41
    Average Annual Return: 30.38%
    IPO Price: $18
    Symbol: AMZN
    Amazon
    photo source: newsweek.com

    Amazon started as an online book store in 1994, but the company quickly became the leader of online shopping in general. Originally, the company’s founder (Jeff Bezos) wanted to call the website Cadabra, but was reportedly “talked out of it.”

    Amazingly, Amazon didn’t have to wait long for success. Within the first month of operation, the company sold books to customers in all 50 states and over 40 countries. With its incredible success, the company debuted on the U.S. stock exchange with an IPO price of just $18 — not a bad deal for stocks that would eventually see returns of over 30%.

    Today, Amazon is worth more than one trillion dollars and has more than 200 million subscribers in its Prime membership program. With such a big share of the online shopping market, the company’s record share price of over $3,700 isn’t surprising.

    Did you know?

    Amazon has faced criticism for the condition of its facilities and the treatment of its workers. Strangely, Amazon seems to have a history with stressed and unhappy employees: Reportedly, company leadership encouraged employees to use “primal screams” as a form of tension-relief during workdays.


  11. Seaboard Corp.
  12. Highest Price: $4,699
    Average Annual Return: 9.22%
    IPO Price: Unknown
    Symbol: SEB
    Seaboard Corp.
    photo source: linkedin.com

    Seaboard Corp. has roots in the early 20th century when a man named Otto Bresky started selling flour. After buying his first mill in 1918, his business continued to grow before being named Rodney Milling in 1928. Then, in the 1950s, Rodney Milling merged with Hathaway Industries Inc. and became a publicly traded company.

    Later, the business took on the name Seaboard as it began to take on the poultry processing industry. Finally, in the 90s, Seaboard turned its focus to pork processing. The company’s new focus on pork remains today, with Seaboard Corp. working in hog production, various shipping markets, and electricity generation.

    Working in so many industries, Seaboard has become a highly profitable business — and its stock price reflects that. In 2019, the company reached a record $4,699 per share, with average returns of over 9% per year.

    Did you know?

    Seaboard Corp. is known as a conglomerate, meaning it operates in a variety of distinct industries.


  13. NVR Inc.
  14. Highest Price: $5,313.57
    Average Annual Return: 22.91%
    IPO Price: Unknown
    Symbol: NVR
    NVR Inc.
    photo source: tradingview.com

    Although it’s hard to find reliable data on NVR’s initial price, company shares sold for about $10 toward the end of its first year on the market in 1993. Amazingly, that price would eventually reach a record $5,313.57 in 2021.

    NVR Inc. operates a variety of human resource and management systems for its home construction businesses. Beyond its extremely expensive stock price, the company enjoys average returns of over 20%.

    Interestingly, NVR hasn’t always been successful. In fact, the company went bankrupt in 1992, a year before joining the stock market. However, NVR was able to pull itself out of bankruptcy in the late 90s thanks to new leadership and an improving economy.

    Did you know?

    Focusing on home construction, NVR is one of the biggest builders in the U.S. — operating in 11 states under a variety of names


  15. Berkshire Hathaway
  16. Highest Price: $439,460
    Average Annual Return: 11.36%
    IPO Price: Unknown
    Symbol: BRK.A
    Berkshire Hathaway
    photo source: tradingview.com

    Berkshire Hathaway is the most expensive stock on the market.

    With an incredible record price of over $400,000 per share, Berkshire Hathaway is by far the most expensive stock available on the American exchange.

    Similar to the second most expensive stock (NVR), Berkshire Hathaway’s IPO price is difficult to define — but that doesn’t mean we have no idea how much these stocks originally cost: In 1964, the owner of Berkshire offered to buy businessman Warren Buffett’s shares for just $11.50 apiece, astonishingly less than the current price.

    Incredibly, Berkshire Hathaway stock prices managed to climb beyond double digits thanks to the guidance of Warren Buffett. And how did Buffett become the leader of Berkshire? After agreeing to that buy-out offer from Berkshire’s former owner, the owner’s official offer came in at just $11.37 — less than the agreement. As a result, Buffett decided to buy the company himself, then fire the former owner.

    Did you know?

    Berkshire Hathaway has an impressive share price, but its average return isn’t as high as you might think — at just 11.36%.

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