Happy Birthday, Google. Shares Are Up 365% Since Its 2004 IPO

This Aug. 19 is probably something of a bittersweet sixth anniversary for Google (GOOG) as a publicly traded company. Its shares have tumbled 25% year to date, underperforming the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite index ($COMPX) by about 20 percentage points.

Google's heady days of outsized growth might very well be over. The market certainly seems to think so. Google shares sport a sleepy forward multiple of just 15 times earnings. Over the past five years investors were willing to pay an average of 30 times forward earnings, according to data from Thomson Reuters. Now that's a growth multiple.

But take a step back and you'll see Google has been a stellar buy-and-hold stock -- if you got in on the IPO back on this date in August 2004. Google's shares have gained more than 365% over that span, versus the Nasdaq's 20% for the same period. And as for the broader market? The S&P 500 ($INX) has lost nearly 1.5% since Google's IPO. See the chart below.

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