A Blog by Jonathan Low


Aug 9, 2011

And the First Shall Be Last: Apple (Briefly) Surpasses Exxon As Largest US Company

Well, it's just been that kind of world-turned-upside-down kinda day. Investors bid up Apple bigger than Exxon, the global oil behemoth, in market cap. Even if Apple dropped to Number 2, it is still bigger than Walmart or GE. Is there no adult supervision in this economy?

There must be some kind of arbitrage on the future of technology versus oil, but we're guessing a bunch of Goldman Sachs partners already retired on that one this morning.

And how about the UK? Sales of baseball bats are up over 5,000% in the past 24 hours. We're guessing this is not simply a breakout moment for the Derek Jeter brand. But even if it is a reaction to the current unpleasantness over there, anyone who has ever been in a street fight knows those newfangled aluminum bats tend to crumple, though LA Dodger fans might beg to differ. But you would think a good wooden cricket bat would be more the deluxe riot control item - and more readily available too. The prices are comparable - $29 to $250 for baseball bats and $19.95 to $390 for the cricket models, so price is clearly not the issue (We do our damn homework around here!). Maybe The Queen has blacklisted them as weapons of mass destruction.

Anyway; Apple, Exxon, baseball, cricket. S&P be damned, someone must be making a buck in this economy. JL

Poornima Gupta and Rodrigo Campos report for Reuters:
Apple Inc briefly edged past Exxon Mobil Corp to become the most valuable company in the United States after days of volatile stock market action.

The technology giant's market value rose on Tuesday to $341.5 billion, just above Exxon's $341.4 billion, even though the oil major's annual revenue is four times that of Apple's.
Exxon quickly regained the No. 1 spot as its shares rose and Apple's shed some of their gains, with stocks globally remaining volatile because of soft economic data and the downgrading of the United States' sovereign credit on Friday.

At 1:50 p.m. EDT Exxon's market cap was $339.3 billion while Apple's dipped to $338.8 billion.

Tuesday's move by Apple, which ended Exxon Mobil's run of more than five years at the top, capped a remarkable turnaround for a company that once teetered on the brink before Apple's Steve Jobs returned to resuscitate the company he co-founded.

Thirteen years ago, some analysts said Apple's value consisted of real estate holdings and cash on hand.

Apple joined, albeit briefly, a small group of companies that have held the top spot in the S&P 500, including General Electric, General Motors, IBM, Microsoft Corp and AT&T, according to Standard & Poor's Index Analytics

Since July 1, Apple's market capitalization has risen by more than $20 billion, fueled by optimism that a new version of its best-selling iPhone will lead to a monstrous second half of 2011.

Exxon's market cap, on the other hand, has slipped nearly $60 billion in the same period due to volatile crude oil prices.


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