A:

The most expensive publicly traded stock of all time is Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A), which is trading at $271,410 per share, as of Nov. 17, 2017). Berkshire hit an all-time high on Oct. 24, 2017, at $285,950. Thanks to spectacular shareholder gains and the idiosyncrasies of its founder, this share value is unlikely to be matched by anything other than continued gains in Berkshire’s share price.  

By market capitalization Apple (AAPL) is the biggest company at $874 billion, followed by Google (GOOGL) at $714 billion, Microsoft (MSFT) at $636 billion, Amazon.com (AMZN) at $544 billion and Facebook (FB) at $520 billion. Berkshire Hathaway currently ranks sixth in terms of largest companies by market cap, with a valuation of $447 billion. 

Back in 2000, Chinese energy giant PetroChina (PTR) reached an estimated market value of around $1 trillion during its IPO. However, this valuation included shares not publicly traded in the total share count calculation, and the valuation didn't stick. As of November 2017, PTR's market capitalization stood at $208 billion. 

In terms of private companies, shares of Chilean stock exchange Bolsa de Comercio de Santiago and Argentinean market operator Mercado de Valores Buenos Aires SA have traded for millions of dollars per share.

The reason why certain stocks are priced so high is usually because the company has never done a stock split.

The Bottom Line

On a pure market value measure, Apple is the most valuable company of all time. It is certainly possible another company’s market cap will exceed Apple's, and maybe - though less likely - another company will surpass Berkshire Hathaway as the highest priced single stock.

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