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U.S. Steel aka 'The Corporation' still around 100 years later

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Yahoo Finance's Jared Blikre takes a look at U.S. Steel's legacy as a financial giant in the 1920s and what it looks like today.

Video transcript


- The past two years have been a wild ride for global markets. But it's not the first time US traders have seen big surges followed by massive drops. Yahoo Finance's Jared Blikre joins us again as we turn our clocks back 100 years to see how some of the New York Stock Exchange's oldest residents are faring when comparing the roaring '20s to whatever you want to call what we're dealing with right now. Jared, what's the skinny?

JARED BLIKRE: Yeah, are we worrying just yet? I think we're going to need a few years to figure out the [INAUDIBLE] the-- the name of this decade. But we're talking about US Steel today. That's after General Electric and General Motors.

But this is one of the Titans-- these stalwarts of the New York Stock Exchange, a company so old it used to be known just as the corporation. So one of the world's first vertically integrated steel manufacturers, US Steel was still the brainchild of JP Morgan all the way back in 1901. They merged the largest steel manufacturers of the day, consolidating them, and US Steel they became the largest corporation on the planet, producing 2/3 of all steel made in the United States.

Now I have a little graphic up on the YFi Interactive we can take a look at. And by the way, if that wasn't enough, US Steel made history in the 1920s as the first company to ever cross the billion dollar threshold. So you can think of them, maybe, as the Apple of the day in terms of innovation. Maybe not as cool as the iPhone or iPads, but nevertheless a mainstay of the construction industry.

So by the end of the 1922, US Steel shares were trading around $2.84 a share. That you can see right there on your screen. Today, they're trading about $23 and change. And that same year, the corporation, this is 1922, brought in a gross revenue of more than a billion dollars. This is up from $986 million it brought in the year prior, 1921.

And by December of 1922, US Steel's total assets were worth more than $2 billion, so climbing that Apple trail 100 years ago. Now today, US Steel. And let's check out the price on our YFi Interactive heat meat-- heat map for the infrastructure industry. What you can see here, US Steel-- and it's way down in the lower right-- a little bit of a smaller company than many of its cohorts.

Here you can see it's about $6.3 billion, versus Caterpillar's $112 billion market cap or Freeport-McMoRan, they're at $61 billion. Nevertheless, let's take a look at how it's trading right now. Year to date, been kind of choppy over the last six months or so, but you can see holding onto gains of about 40% right there. And if we dial back five years, US Steel was at the center of trade disputes and the Trump administration-- we all remember that-- finally broke out after the COVID period of early 2020.

And it's been off to the races ever since. Now if you look at a Max chart, and our data doesn't go back to 1901, but it does go back to the early '90s, you can see we had this huge spike in the run up in the housing bubble. And that was a run up to the global financial crisis. And it's got to be off 80%, 90% from that high watermark, but nevertheless trying to gain some steam here. And another interesting look, just to kind of dial back and take a look at what has happened with some of these stalwart companies over the last 100 years, guys.

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