During the internet boom at the beginning of the decade, there were hundreds of stocks selling in the triple digit range. Many of these are no longer with us, and the number of stocks selling for more than $100 gets smaller and smaller every day as the market moves lower.
If you exclude exchange traded funds (ETFs), and other index products, there are just a couple of dozen left now, concentrated in many different sectors.
The highest price stock at just over $73,000 is still, no surprise, Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK-A), and despite certain commentators questioning the acumen of Warren Buffett, I'd still put my money on this one for the long term. One can view Berkshire Hathaway as a giant mutual fund concentrated in a few large stocks, and as the overall market drags those stocks down, Berkshire will go down with it. If management has done its job, then the stocks owned will thrive long term.
The second highest price stock at approximately $855 per share is Seaboard Corp (AMEX:SEB. The stock is in the consumer goods sector under meat products, but a closer look at the company shows that it also in the shipping, commodities and grain business. Now, if you think the stock is too pricey, consider it in relation to earnings instead. The company earned $118.19 in 2008, putting the trailing price to earnings ratio (P/E ratio) at around seven, which many are considering attractive.
At $340 per share, the Washington Post Company (NYSE:WPO) is part of the beleaguered newspaper industry. Unlike most of its peers, many of which are filing bankruptcy, the company managed to eke out a slight profit in 2008 of $65.7 million ($6.87 per share).
Google (Nasdaq:GOOG) currently trades around $327 a share, and is up strongly year to date, outpacing many other technology stocks. The company has no debt, and is gaining market share in search from Yahoo! (Nasdaq:YHOO) and other smaller competitors. Look for Google to use its large cash hoard to make purchases during the down turn.
NVR Corp trades around $326 a share (NYSE:NVR). This company builds houses. The company is considered to be in better financial shape than its peers, although it should be noted that the founder of NVR Corp, just sold a large block of his shares.
The list of stocks selling at more than $100 a share used to be a crowded one, but the bear market has willowed the list down to just a handful. How long these stay here is anyone's guess as the market slips to a new low each day.
For related reading, see Don't Let Stock Prices Fool You.