Washington helps S&P 500 hit record high | Taking Stock

12 companies contribute some 6% of $20 trillion total
By Tim Raetzloff | Feb 22, 2017

On Monday, Feb. 13, for the first time ever, the value of the companies that make up the Standard & Poor 500 Index reached $20 trillion – a milestone and just plain a lot of money.

On that day, the 12 Washington companies in the S&P 500 had a combined market capitalization of $1.182 trillion. That’s just over 5.9 percent of the S&P’s total value.

Market capitalization is measured by multiplying the price of one share of stock by the total number of shares.

Washington – with just over 2 percent of the national population and 2.4 percent of S&P 500 companies – supplied nearly 6 percent of the total market value on this record-setting day. And Washington isn't a heavyweight like California, New York and Texas, but it has grown into a very respectable middleweight.

Washington’s 12 S&P 500 companies are Microsoft, Amazon.com, Starbucks, Costco, Weyerhaeuser, PACCAR, Fortive, Expedia, Alaska Air, Expeditors International, F5 Networks and Nordstrom.

To me, the most remarkable thing about that list is that only four of the companies are over 50 years old. The rest are companies that didn't exist when I was growing up, and some of them are less than 25 years old. Washington has apparently been a very fertile environment for growing companies.

Historically, it has taken generations for companies to become world leaders. Several of our local companies have accomplished that in little more than a generation.

Eleven of our S&P 500 companies make their headquarters in King County. One, Fortive, is new and has its headquarters on Seaway Blvd. in South Everett near Mukilteo.

T-Mobile US, the fifth most valuable company in Washington with a market capitalization of $50 billion, is not an S&P 500 company. I have no idea why it has been left off the list.

The 14th most valuable company in Washington is Canyon Park-based Seattle Genetics with a $9 billion market capitalization. Maybe it will make the cut one of these days, and then Snohomish County will have two S&P companies.

Tim Raetzloff operates Abarim Business Computers at Harbor Square in Edmonds. What he writes combines his sense of history and his sense of numbers. Neither he nor Abarim have an investment in any of the companies mentioned in this column.

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