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Big guys drive state’s (modest) 2nd-quarter gains | Taking Stock


Last updated 7/5/2017 at Noon

The second quarter of 2017 was less eventful for Washington companies than the first. It looked like it might be a record-breaking quarter right up until the last week, when most stocks were sold off.

Our state’s combined market capitalization grew by $63 billion to $1.387 trillion, but for much of the last month it had hovered near $1.5 trillion. Market capitalization is the value of one share multiplied by the total number of shares.

Microsoft grew by $23 billion, from $509 billion to $532 billion. Amazon did even better. It grew by nearly $40 billion, from $423 billion to nearly $463 billion. There were several weeks during the quarter in which Microsoft and Amazon were worth a combined $1 trillion, but they didn’t finish that way.

Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos have been the two wealthiest private individuals in the world for much of the first half of 2017. Our state’s entire growth in value this quarter is contained in just those two companies, and that’s following a first quarter in which 80 percent of the state’s gain came from those companies.

Starbucks remains the third-most-valuable company in Washington, though it actually lost value, falling from $85 billion to just more than $84 billion. Costco remained No. 4, but lost $3.5 billion in value to finish at just more than $70 billion. T-Mobile US is still No. 5, though it lost about $3 billion to come in at just more than $50 billion. Weyerhaeuser lost a little less than $300 million, and finished sixth at just more than $25 billion. PACCAR lost nearly $400 million and remains seventh. Expedia came in at $22.5 billion, gaining $3.5 billion and moving up from ninth to eighth.

Everett-based Fortive gained more than $1 billion to finish just shy of $22 billion, but fell to ninth place. Alaska Air lost $300 million to finish 10th at $11 billion, and Expeditors International finished the quarter where it started: at No. 11 with just more than $10 billion.

Like the combined value of Microsoft and Amazon, and the state overall, King County gained $63 billion. It’s now at $1.34 trillion in value. Though Snohomish County lost $500 million, it easily remains in second place among counties at $29.8 billion.

Spokane County gained $400 million to end at $8.3 billion. Pierce County stayed right where it was, at $3.5 billion and fourth place among the state’s 39 counties. Walla Walla County remains fifth in the state at just less that $2 billion, while Clark County took sixth after seeing a slight rise during the quarter to $1.5 billion.

Other counties had relatively small changes, remaining close to where they began the quarter. At the end of the first quarter, I said the little guys hadn’t done very well. Unfortunately, the little guys did even worse this time around.

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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