In July 2016, the world and financial markets were still in shock from Great Britain's vote to withdraw from the European Union. It was a watershed moment for the open market -- or perhaps a catastrophic flash flood, and at the time, Motley Fool co-founder David Gardner offered listeners to the Rule Breakers podcast a sampler of five stock recommendations that he felt had some Brexit resonance. Two years on, Brexit is barely even a work in progress. In fact, it's a political quagmire with no blueprint close to being accepted by all sides, and based on the latest news, the negotiations are appearing to grow even more tumultuous. However, though there's no clarity in Europe, it is nonetheless time for him to check back in and see how those picks are performing en route to the three-year holding period he originally suggested.
First up, Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG), which David says is all about autonomy and independence -- as the British voters apparently were as well. His baseline for comparison is the S&P 500, which is up 26% since then. So far, the Google parent has delivered some market-beating returns.
A full transcript follows the video.
This video was recorded on July 4, 2018.
David Gardner: Each of these five stocks was picked for three years. That's the way I set up the game two years ago on this podcast. We'll revisit it today, and then we'll conclude with a look one year from now at these five stocks. Without further ado, here they come, in alphabetical order by company name.
Therefore, the first one is and was Alphabet. The ticker symbol is GOOG, because, for whatever reason, Alphabet a few years later has not changed its ticker symbol. It loves that GOOG ticker symbol, I guess. They certainly could have changed their ticker symbol, but they haven't, so the ticker symbol for Alphabet is GOOG. Alphabet's stock two years ago was at $717 when I picked it on the show. Today, it is at $1,110. This is up 55%. Spoiler alert of these five: this is the best performer, up 55% over these last couple of years.
Looking back now, how valuable has YouTube become? These days, Morgan Stanley puts a value on YouTube at about $160 billion, which is pretty remarkable when you consider that when Google bought out YouTube for $1.65 billion in the year 2006 -- from $1.65 billion to $160 billion looks like a 100-bagger for the Google management team at the time. What an outstanding call it's been, and how valuable is YouTube, not just today but really for the rest of our lifetimes? That's an incredible platform, and it helps to explain Google's outstanding gains. A lot else happening, certainly, at Alphabet over these last couple of years, but I just wanted to highlight that.
Why did this stock show up on the Brexit-inspired stock list? Well, I was talking about how Britain has made the decision for the U.K. to be independent and autonomous. Google itself and Alphabet is probably the most autonomous and independent company that I can think of worldwide. It has so many different businesses that it's playing in. A lot of them are independent of each other, and it is a remarkable entity unto itself. So, I was wishing Britain good luck with being independent, saying, "Maybe you could be a little bit more like Alphabet."
With that stock up 55%, the market up 26%, that's a plus 29% in the win column for this five-stock sampler list.
Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. David Gardner owns shares of Alphabet (A shares) and Alphabet (C shares). The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A shares) and Alphabet (C shares). The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.