Thanksgiving is a time to gather with friends and family -- and be grateful. But there's no reason we can't also take the time over the holidays to be grateful about the members of our portfolio family. I'm not suggesting that one should get too attached to one's stocks. A lot of mistakes can happen when due diligence crosses paths with emotional investing. However, there's no harm in showing some appreciation for the stocks that have done the legwork to provide you with an easier future.
Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), Roku (NASDAQ:ROKU), and Disney (NYSE:DIS) aren't necessarily the market's top stocks, but they matter to me. They happen to be my three largest holdings, and they're also the three stocks I'm the most grateful for this season. Let's go into why I'm giving thanks to these three important investments for me.
I've described Netflix as the one that mostly got away, and since it's a story I haven't told in a while, I figured the time is right to refresh the bittersweet math. You rarely get a chance to nail the bottom on a stock, but that's essentially what I did with Netflix. I bought the stock in early October 2002, months after its Wall Street debut. Netflix was a broken IPO, initially laughed at for its business of mailing out rented movie discs. I was an early customer and believer, and the 500 shares I bought at the time for roughly $2,600 would make me extremely wealthy -- had I held on.
The stock split twice in the coming years, but I sold 90% of my shares before the going got good, and those 6,300 shares would be worth nearly $2 million today. I did sell another half of my shares early last year, but I'm not kicking myself yet about that transaction, because the stock is essentially in the same place. However, I'm still grateful for holding on to what is now just 5% of my first and probably last 800-bagger.
No one's laughing at Netflix now. It will close out this year with more than 165 million paid streaming subscribers worldwide, and at some point this month, it probably topped 100 million international accounts.
You never forget your first taste of Roku. I initiated a position in the streaming video pioneer 25 months ago, when it was in the high teens. I was fortunate enough to add to that stake on the final trading day of last year, when Roku was trading just above $30.
I nailed the bottom on Netflix. I wasn't as lucky with Roku. But I can say that I bought what is now this year's hottest large cap on the final day of last year. Roku is a five-bagger this year, up 436% so far in 2019. I realized early on that there's only one clear path to cash in on the booming streaming video revolution, and it's not necessarily a bet on Netflix or any of the other services. Roku is the platform of choice for smart television makers, and its standalone gadgetry is selling briskly despite competing against the titans of consumer tech.
There are now 32.3 million homes that kick off their streaming sessions on Roku, an audience that has grown by 36% over the past year. They're hooked, going through 10.3 billion hours of content through Roku -- a juicy 68% surge that translates into its rapidly rising average revenue per user.
I grew up in a Florida family that would routinely hit up Disney World on weekends, and it was due to that affinity that my girlfriend at the time bought me a single share of the media giant 33 years ago. It was the first stock I ever owned. I've naturally bought more stocks, but you can be sure that I went on to marry that girl.
I've also added to that position in recent years, and it was my second largest position until Roku's big run in 2019.
Disney is the media giant with a monster catalog of content. It's the studio behind the four highest-grossing films of this year, and by the end of 2019 it should have all six top slots once Frozen 2 and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker play out. It runs the world's most popular theme parks, and earlier this month it launched the only streaming service that will gain more net subscribers than Netflix.
It's odd that my three largest stocks should intersect in the digital living room, a place where family and friends often gather after Thanksgiving dinner. I'm grateful for my family, my friends, and my stocks.