If you’re curious about what might have been when it comes to hypothetical stock market investing, a new infographic from the financial website How Much will get your attention. The site looked at the initial public offering, or IPO, of some of the biggest companies in tech and consumer goods over the past decades and how much that investment is worth today. (IPOs signal when stock is released for purchase by the general public.) Here's what they found.
Putting down $100 for shares of McDonald’s when the company went public in 1965 and forgetting about it would have netted you $569,800 today. Even more profitable than fast-service burgers would have been Coca-Cola, although that stock would have had a century to appreciate.
The biggest score—and surprise—is Nike, which manages to deliver the biggest haul since its IPO launched in 1980. Nike stocks traded at just 18 cents a share then but ballooned to over $85 in February 2019. Microsoft was far more valued at the time of its IPO, trading at $21 a share in 1986, but its value has only gone up—a share is now worth $108.22 in 2019.
The site accounted for stocks that were held through falling and rising stock prices, stock splits, and stocks with dividends taken out and not reinvested.
While it may seem like a bit of financial daydreaming, the chart is an intriguing illustration of the brands that have resonated with the public over the years. When Starbucks went public in 1992, some prospective investors believed that selling coffee for the then-outrageous price of $1 per cup with Italian names that many people couldn’t pronounce was ridiculous. For others, believing in the power of the latte paid off.