The company went public exactly 20 years ago as an unprofitable online bookstore that was just three years old.
Few investors could have foreseen that it would gain about 50,000% in the two decades after its initial public offering. One thousand dollars invested at the closing price on Amazon's IPO day would be worth over $491,000 on Monday, based on the stock's price in early trading.
(Business Insider/Andy Kiersz, data from Yahoo Finance)
That kind of return escaped even investors as seasoned as Warren Buffett, the Berkshire Hathaway CEO who recently said he was "too dumb to realize what was going to happen." Amazon's cloud-computing business has driven its growth and profitability, while its core retail business is threatening brands that were around long before.
It would have taken a rare kind of discipline to stick with the stock through its downturns. Shares have dropped by more than 10% and an average of 36% from their intrayear peak in each of the past 20 years, Michael Batnick, the director of research at Ritholtz Wealth Management, said in a January note.
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