Updated from Jan. 25.
With Google parent Alphabet (GOOGL) - Get Alphabet Inc. Class A Report and ecommerce giant Amazon (AMZN) - Get Amazon.com, Inc. Report trading above $800 a share, it raises the question of which will hit the $1,000 level first, given that they have both delivered impressive growth over the past 12 months.
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Alphabet was created in 2015 as the holding company for Google's various arms. The company's portfolio consists of cutting-edge disruptive ventures including Calico, CapitalG, Google, Google Fiber, GV and Verily.
The company's subsidiaries span a broad range of industries from biotechnology research to venture capital to a "moonshot" technology factory that is developing automated aircraft and self-driving cars.
All told, Alphabet generated $85 billion in sales last year and a profit of $19 billion. Over the past five years, the company's revenue has increased by 45% a year on average from $37.9 billion in 2011.
Massively profitable, Alphabet's total cash and short-term investments has grown to $83 billion, almost equivalent to its sales last year. Meanwhile, the company's debt is just $3.94 billion, a minuscule amount for a company with a market value of $573 billion.
During the past 12 months Alphabet's shares have increased more than 17%. If the stock maintains its trailing 12 months' share price growth rate, it should break through the $1,000 by the first quarter next year.
Of the past six quarters, Alphabet has beaten analysts' expectations in all but one quarter. Investors have good reason to expect the company to continue beating the market.
Amazon on the other hand, is an ecommerce juggernaut powered by its popular cloud-computing offering Amazon Web Services and paid subscription service Amazon Prime.
The company brought in revenue of $128 billion over the past 12 months, but online profit was just $2 billion.
It is important to remember that even traditional retailers such as Target (TGT) - Get Target Corporation Reportand Walmart (WMT) - Get Walmart Inc. Report have profit margins of about 3% to 5%. However, Prime with its additional premium features gives Amazon a way to have higher-margin sales.
With online retail becoming a cornerstone of shopping, Amazon has better growth prospects than Alphabet.
Analysts expect Amazon to post an average 36% rise in earnings per share every year for the next half a decade, close to double Alphabet's growth rate.
Over the past 12 months, shares of Amazon increased about 36%. If the company keeps up this growth, it could break through the $1,000 mark as the third quarter.
Investors could buy shares of Alphabet and Amazon and expect market-beating returns from both. But as far as which company will hit the $1,000 share level first, investors should bet on Amazon.
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The author is an independent contributor who at the time of publication owned none of the stocks mentioned.