Washington stocks set records this quarter | Taking Stock

By Tim Raetzloff | Oct 05, 2016

Washington shareholder-owned companies finished the third quarter at a record high value of nearly $1.2 trillion in market capitalization.

Market capitalization is measured by multiplying the value of one share by the total number of shares outstanding.

Microsoft, as it has been for the last 25 years, was the most valuable company in Washington at a value of $448.8 billion. Amazon gained on Microsoft during the quarter and finished a very respectable second at $396.9 billion.

Microsoft and Amazon are two of the four most valuable companies in the world. Starbucks was third at $79.4 billion, followed by Costco and T-Mobile U.S. in the top five.

King County still dominates the state, as it has for more than 100 years, at $1.1557 trillion. Snohomish County is a distant second at $25.75 billion. Spokane County is third at $7.77 billion. Nine other counties have companies with measurable value.

There were 103 companies with measurable value. Three new companies joined the list in the third quarter.

Apptio and Impinj completed initial public offerings to be counted for the first time. Fortive arrived as a spin-off from Danaher, which elected to set up shop in Everett.

Fortive, at $17.59 billion, was the biggest new arrival. Fortive is the eighth most valuable company in Washington, and the only top 10 company outside of King County.

Snohomish County has two of the top 20 companies in the state; the other is Seattle Genetics at $7.59 billion in 14th place.

Spokane County is the only other county in the top 20, represented by Avista at $2.66 billion in 18th place.

Snohomish County has eight companies on the list, though five are small, valued at less than $100 million each.

But the largest companies on the list were small once. The five most valuable companies in Washington didn't exist when I began charting stocks more than 50 years ago.

Weyerhaeuser (No. 6), and PACCAR (No. 7) both existed then, although PACCAR was then called Pacific Car & Foundry.

Nordstrom (No. 11) and Alaska Air (No. 12) both existed then. Avista (No. 18) was called Washington Water Power, and Washington Federal (No. 19) wasn't yet a shareholder-owned company. That happened in 1982.

Further down the list are a few companies that existed when I began charting stocks in 1962, including at least one that is more than 150 years old, but most are companies that have come into being in my lifetime.

Washington was a backwater when I was growing up, but it has become one of the most dynamic business locations in the world.

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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