Can you get rich from the stocks behind the five richest Americans?

 

Each year, Forbes publishes a list of the 400 wealthiest Americans. The list features an exclusive group, and this year the bare minimum to make the list was up 18% to $2 billion.

The names at the top of the list are fairly predictable, and are all people that have managed to build some of the most influential businesses in the nation.

A few of the names at the top of the list have been around for decades, while others are fairly new to their top spots, and have ascended as their technology companies have reshaped the world as we know it.

The list has net worth that ranges from $59 billion all the way up to $89 billion.

Becoming one of the richest people in the United States, not to mention the world, is no easy task, so these people have proven razor sharp business savvy, and the ability to help their companies navigate the ever-changing economic landscape.

So, who are these richest Americans, and what companies helped drive their massive fortunes? We want to take a look at the top five names in this year’s list of richest Americans, and take a quick snapshot of the companies that brought them so much success.

Bill Gates – Microsoft

Bill Gates co-founded Microsoft (MSFT) in 1975 which eventually became the world’s largest PC software company. Gates began to distance himself from the company when he stepped down as CEO in 2000, but continued to remain chairman until 2014. Bill Gates tops the list of richest Americans, with a net worth of $89 billion. Microsoft had a stranglehold of the PC market for years, and is currently a leader in the fast-growing cloud computing market. Gates now focuses his attention on philanthropy, but the company he built remains a top player in the tech world, and the stock is currently trading just shy of its all-time high. The stock trades at $79.04, slightly above its average price target of $78.93.

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Chart courtesy of www.stockcharts.com

Jeff Bezos – Amazon.com

There is no question regarding how powerful Amazon.com (AMZN) has become in recent years, and its continued growth has resulted in its founder, Jeff Bezos rising the ranks to become the second richest American, and he even overtook Bill Gates for the top spot for a few hours on July 27. Amazon had humble beginnings as an online book retailer, but the company has grown to totally take over e-commerce, it reshaped the entire retail sector, and it is now a leader in cloud computing. With the company continuing to thrive, Bezos should quickly take over the top spot on the list. AMZN trades at $971.34, and analysts have an average price target of $1,181.95 on the stock.

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Chart courtesy of www.stockcharts.com

Warren Buffett – Berkshire Hathaway

Warren Buffett is considered by many to be the most successful investor of all time. His consistent success over the last five decades has resulted in a net worth of $78 billion. He has amassed a fortune for himself and investors in his diversified holding company Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B). Buffett is one of the most closely watched investor, and countless investors model their strategies and portfolio holdings based on his moves. Like Bill Gates, Buffett is highly involved in philanthropy, with both men pledging to donate 99 percent of their money to philanthropic causes. Strength in the overall economy, and the stock market trading to record levels has boost BRK.B shares to record high, and should keep pushing shares higher.

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Chart courtesy of www.stockcharts.com

Mark Zuckerberg – Facebook

Few companies have managed to change the world to the degree that Facebook (FB) has done over the last ten years. Under the leadership of its founder, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook completely changed the way people communicate and digest their world news. Facebook currently boasts over 2 million active monthly users, which translates to roughly 25% of the world’s population logging into their Facebook account at least once a month. The company has done a fantastic job converting their users into ad revenue, and the company’s success has pushed Zuckerberg into the fourth spot on this year’s list, with $71 billion, up $15.5 billion over the last year. Facebook continues to grow, with earnings forecast to rise 26.2% this year, and 22.1% next year. FB shares trade at $173.00, with an average price target of $192.19.

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Chart courtesy of www.stockcharts.com

Larry Ellison – Oracle

Larry Ellison ranks fifth in this year’s list of richest Americans, with a net worth of $59 billion, up $9.7 billion from last year. Ellison is the founder of Oracle (ORCL), where is also the executive chairman and chief technology officer. Despite its maturity, Oracle continues to show modest growth, with earnings forecast to rise 7.3% this year, and an additional 8.5% next year. The company has seen nice growth transforming to a cloud-first company, and analysts are upbeat on the stock. ORCL is currently trading at $49.61, and analysts have an average price target of $55.69 on the stock.

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Chart courtesy of www.stockcharts.com

Symbols: AMZN BRK.B FB MSFT ORCL
Michael Fowlkes

Michael Fowlkes

Michael Fowlkes is a financial writer who has been with the Fresh Brewed Media family since 2004. Over the course of his tenure with Fresh Brewed Media, he has worn many hats, including portfolio manager, options analyst, and writer. Michael received his undergraduate degree from Virginia Tech in Accounting and got his start in finance working as a stock trader for six years at Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Va.

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