Apple Ends Wednesday as World’s Most Valuable Company

| Apple Stock Watch

After spending most of Tuesday worth more than any other company on the planet, only to lose out in the final minutes of trading to Exxon Mobil, Apple officially ended Wednesday’s session with the title of “World’s Most Valuable Company” for the first time.

If you’re new to this saga, Apple was once characterized as “beleaguered,” and even today some folks are happy to make asses of themselves by declaring Apple’s imminent failure and doom.

In May of 2010, however, there was a symbolic changing of the guard as Apple overtook Microsoft as the world’s most valuable tech company, as determined by Wall Street and the stock markets. On May 26th, 2010, Apple ended the day with a market capitalization of US$222.12 billion, compared to Microsoft’s $219.18 billion.

While that was enough to rank as the world’s most valuable tech company, there was still one company with a higher market cap than Apple, and that was energy giant Exxon Mobil. At that time, Exxon was still far ahead of Apple in the lower $300 billion range.

That changed on Tuesday, when the two companies changed place for most of the trading session as the markets rallied and sent both companies higher. When we reported on the development, Apple had a market cap of $335 billion, while Exxon Mobile was valued at $328.6 billion (look below the chart for Wednesday’s valuations).

In the closing minutes of the session, the two companies changed position yet again, with Exxon Mobil reclaiming its position at #1 by gaining just a wee bit more in percentage terms than Apple, as noted by David Winograd for The Mac Observer.

Which brings us to Wednesday’s session, when the two companies seesawed back and forth throughout the day, as shown in the chart below (when the lines are close, Exxon is worth more, and when they are farthest apart, Apple is worth more). In a reversal from the day before, however, Wednesday’s change in places came about not by which company had gained the most, but which company lost the least.

If you look at the closing minutes of trading in the chart, Exxon (XOM) had another last minute rally, but the company still lost more in percentage terms than Apple, leaving Apple as the world’s most valuable company.

AAPL vs. XOM (in percentage terms)

AAPL vs. XOM in Wednesday’s Trading Session in Percentage Terms
Source: Yahoo! Finance

AAPL ended the day at $363.69, down $10.32 (-2.76%), with a market cap of $337.2 billion. XOM ended the day at $68.03, down $3.14 (-4.41%), with a market cap of $330.8 billion.

Please note two important things: Being “ranked” like this is symbolic in meaning, and that’s all. It doesn’t really mean anything per se, but at the same time, if Apple remains at #1, it will be the bellwether when Wall Street, analysts, pundits, fund managers, and investors talk about anything relating to being the world’s largest company.

The other thing is that the markets are in the midst of a major upheaval that has little to do with the performances of individual companies like Exxon and Apple, and everything to do with politics and global economics. These two companies could continue changing places going forward, whether or not the markets rally, fall, or bounce around all over the place like they have for the past several trading sessions. It’s a roller coaster ride for now.

*In the interest of full disclosure, the author holds a tiny, almost insignificant share in AAPL stock that was not an influence in the creation of this article.

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7 Comments Leave Your Own

RonMacGuy

And just a week ago or so I was predicting it would take until January 2012 for Apple to become #1.  Boy, was I wrong.  Of course, if I had predicted the severe drop over the past week, I would have sold my Apple stock at $400 and bought back at $360.  Oh well.

Congrats Apple!!  You deserve the spot.  Keep up the great work, and I can’t wait for my new iPhone 5 (with my iPhone 4 going to my wife!!).

Lee Dronick

What strikes me is that the peaks and valleys of the two almost match exactly. Would I be wrong in thinking that the same software was responsible for the trades?

dhp

Only once in my entire life have I given someone advice about stock. In the late 1990s I told my dad he should invest in Apple, which was below $20. He didn’t do it. My only regret is that I didn’t ask him for money so I could buy Apple stock. There have been two splits since then, so a single $20 share would be worth over $1400 today.

BurmaYank

What strikes me is that the peaks and valleys of the two almost match exactly. Would I be wrong in thinking that the same software was responsible for the trades?

Indeed!

And what could have happened b/w 9:45-10:0AM that dropped XOM’s baseline 1-2%, but not AAPL’s, as they proceeded to track in perfect software-orchestrated synchronization, before & after that fascinating translocation point?

ctopher

Was there ever a company so large on so few products? The efficiency of the value to products seems astounding to me. While Apple is an international player, the products themselves are the same the world over. (That’s the beauty of software!)

The fact that you can see and buy almost everything they sell at their on-line store yet the company is worth north of $300 Billion blows me away.

We’re talking products in a service economy. Amazing.

RonMacGuy

Was there ever a company so large on so few products?

Well, yes.  ExxonMobil with one product - OIL!!

wink

mhikl

Was there ever a company so large on so few products? . . . Amazing.

Hey ctopher, you make me feel all warm and fuzzy. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to taste the reality! grin

Steve is that enigma wrapped in riddles. I like a good riddle and this one never wears thin.

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