This Day In Market History: Amazon Goes Public At $18 Per Share

This Day In Market History: Amazon Goes Public At $18 Per Share

Each day, Benzinga takes a look back at a notable market-related moment that occurred on this date.

What Happened?

On this day 22 years ago,, Inc. AMZN went public.

Where The Market Was

The Dow finished the day at 7,286.16. The S&P 500 traded at 836,04. Today, the Dow is trading at 25,532 and the S&P 500 is trading at 2,834.

What Else Was Going On In The World?

In 1997, Madeleine Albright became the first female U.S. Secretary of State. Diana, Princess of Wales was killed in a car crash in Paris. The average price of a new car was $16,900.

The Amazon IPO

Today’s Amazon looks nothing like the company that went public at a price of $18 per share in May 1997. Long before Alexa, Amazon Prime and the Kindle, Amazon’s business was much more focused.

“ is the leading online retailer of books,” the company said succinctly in its S-1 filing.

At the time, Amazon reported 80,000 average daily visits to its website. Amazon had only 256 total employees and full-year revenue of only $15.75 million. The company’s IPO placed Amazon’s total value at around $300 million. Today, Amazon’s market cap is $905 billion.

Even after three stock splits that cut the price of its IPO shares by 12, Amazon stock is still priced at over $1,800 in today’s market.

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