The gains show how the area’s mix of tech, retail and telecommunications companies bucked volatility in more traditional sectors of the economy, including energy, which was buffeted by falling oil prices.
The U.S. stock market ended the year with its most inglorious performance since 2008. But most of the Seattle area’s biggest companies were on a tear, underscoring the strength of Pacific Northwest capitalism in a tread-water year for the wider stock market.
The gains show how the area’s mix of tech, retail and telecommunications bucked volatility in more traditional sectors of the economy, including energy, which until recently helped drive the recovery but this year was hit by falling oil prices.
These companies’ roaring good fortunes also likely help explain the area’s growing traffic woes and soaring housing prices.
The local pack was led by Amazon, which saw its stock rise 118 percent in 2015 to $675.89, more than doubling its market cap to $323 billion. That was a big swing from a weak 2014, when investors grew impatient with bigger than expected losses. (Percentage changes reflect dividends and stock splits)
This year, however, they cheered when Amazon revealed more details about its profitable cloud-computing business and showed strong growth in its mature retail website.
Starbucks, despite being mocked for trying to getbaristas and customers to talk about racism, also had an amazing year. Its stock rose 48 percent to $60.03 as it found new ways to bring people into its shops, including by having them place orders on their cellphones.
That stock price is nearly four times what it was trading at in 2011. The company is now worth $90.31 billion, enough to buy each person on Earth four short lattes.
Most Read Stories
- 'The Big Dark' is here as first of three storms rolls into Northwest on stretch of trans-Pacific moisture
- Boeing, reversing tide of cuts, rushes to bring back retirees as temps
- As Amazon’s deadline for HQ2 bids closes, speculation on winner heats up
- Midweek rain in Seattle area is just hint of what's to come, forecasters say
- As Confederate statues fall, this Washington town is creating a monument to its black founder VIEW
Microsoft gained 23 percent as its cloud-computing business grew and it bought back significant amounts of stock. Shares closed at $55.48.
Costco, the giant warehouse club, became 15 percent more valuable as shoppers kept flocking to its stores. Its shares closed the year at $161.50, giving it a market value of $71.56 billion.
Boeing, although not technically based in Seattle, still underpins much of the area’s economy. Its shares were up 13 percent, closing at $144.59, on strong airplane sales.
Telecommunications giant T-Mobile was also roaring, with shares jumping 45 percent to $39.12 as the company overtook Sprint as the nation’s third-largest carrier.
Alaska Air Group also closed the year on a good note, with shares at $80.51, up 36 percent.
Not all local champions did well. Nordstrom, which had been a favorite among analysts as it upscale shoppers kept buying throughout the recession, stumbled in November, as the troubles that ail the brick-and-mortar part of the retail sector seemed to catch up with it. Shares were down 37 percent at $49.81.
Lumber titan Weyerhaeuser also had a lackluster year, with a 16 percent drop in its stock to $29.98. In November, it agreed to buy local rival Plum Creek for $8.4 billion to become the largest private owner of timberland in the U.S.
A previous version of this story ran with a chart and a table showing Northwest companies’ 2015 stock performance. Some of the data was incorrect. When the table is corrected it will be republished.