Why are US stocks more expensive than UK ones?

The title is not entirely correct but: why do US stocks cost aroud £100 while equivalent UK companies trade for much less. For example: Walmart is trading at around $125 while Tesco trades around £2,50. As such, UK stocks seem much more accessible than US stocks (there are exceptions). Is there a reason for that?

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Larger potential for US companies as a rule of thumb (multiple reasons including larger customer base, less regulation, more tech companies etc) Terrible generalization from me there, but I assume we are looking at this from a high level.

Some articles that cover this subject:


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How is that related to the price of a share?

The average market cap is higher, so price is likely to be higher in the first place.

But, why prices end up being so much higher for companies of the same value is that there are fewer stock splits so the price per share is able to get much higher.

Business often might split their shares, e.g. 2:1, which will half the price per share but holders end up with twice as many.

Berkshire Hathaway has never done it, hence why it costs something like $250k. Whereas Unilever has had 4 stock splits in 30 years.

Compare Tesco and Kroger. Similar market cap, but Tesco has 9 billion shares and Kroger has 777 million shares. Meaning a Tesco share is much cheaper than a Kroger one.

There’s a convention that LSE firms keep their share prices lower by having more issued shares than on the NYSE.

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Maybe if I sum it up as “superior fundamentals” including much greater market share, less tax paid, more flexible labor market, lighter regulation and less market volatility for US companies its more obvious - buyers are attracted to these things at a greater rate helping keep prices high.

Both of you are just describing the american market. Nothing you say explains why not all the companies just do a 10:1 stock split. These are not answers.


Yes, they are answers.

The question was: “why are share prices higher in the US?”. The correct answer is there are fewer stock splits and fewer shares available.

You’re asking a different, follow-up, question: “why are there fewer stock splits and shares issued in the US?”.

The answer to that is different. Buffett will tell you it’s to prevent speculation and encouraging long term holding. But there are all sorts of answers to that, including ego.


That’s a really bad answer and doesn’t answer anything. :roll_eyes:

It might be that historically companies had to issue paper share certificates.

Hi @SebReitz sorry but other then telling us we are wrong you aren’t adding much to the conversation - why do you think we are wrong? What is your opinion on the reason US stocks are so much higher?


feel free to answer it then and offer constructive criticism rather than just poo poo people’s contributions.


The actual price of the shares is pretty arbitrary, it just depends on how many shares the company chose to issue, and whether or not they have done one or more splits as the company has grown.

So I guess the question is really why do US companies choose to have high shares prices rather than a higher number of cheaper shares?

I don’t know the answer to that, maybe it’s a psychology thing where they believe higher prices look better


Here is another terrible but fun answer: It doesn’t really matter how accessible they were… once you have the ability to buy fractionals (when the rollout is complete), you can access all the US shares to your hearts content.

I never thought of it in that way, but I’ve learnt something from your post today :blush:. Thanks for that.

John has the correct answer here, but the psychology behind it will always be speculation.
What ever the reason, I agree with you that fractional shares removes the difference. Once you get used to just making a £GBP value investment or $USD value investment the actual price of each share becomes much less important than the value of your total holdings.

Amongst other things:

Traditionally US companies do more share buybacks than EU companies.

Traditionally EU companies pay higher dividends than US companies.

These 2 factors alone have an important impact in the evolution of price per share.


That doesn’t explain why the US companies don’t do stock splits to keep the price per share low, which is what the original question is really asking

Original question:


I think Raul and John answered the question. Regarding fractional shares: I am not a big fan of that. I feel it really dilutes your shareholding. I rather save up a little to buy a full share than buying 1/10 of a share.

0.1 of a share is just as valid as a whole share in terms of a claim on profits, dividends and cash flow etc.