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Apple surpasses ExxonMobil as most valuable US company

Investors seem to think you want an iPad more than oil, as Apple Inc. became the most valuable company in the United States, surpassing Exxon Mobil Corp.

For a few moments on August 10, Apple Inc. overtook Exxon Mobil Corp. to become the world' s most valuable company, notching another milestone in a resurrection that has seen it evolve from a maker of niche computers into a global consumer electronics powerhouse.

In mid-afternoon trading in a seesaw session on August 9, Apple reached a market capitalization of $343 billion, pushing it above Exxon' s market value. The stock moves—for a time—changed the rankings of the top two companies, which had been separated by $50 billion in market capitalization a few weeks ago.

The change of the guard took place two days after global markets saw its worst fall since 2008 as investors worried about the U.S. credit downgrade and the possibility of another recession. Exxon had been the most valuable company since 2005, and Apple only took No. 2 in May 2010 when it surpassed Microsoft Corp.

The power shift, while largely symbolic, is a substantial milestone for Apple, which has enjoyed a triumphant comeback since the 1990s, when it struggled to stay afloat before Steve Jobs returned to take the helm.

International companies that vie for the most valuable spot include PetroChina Co., the publicly traded unit of China' s biggest oil and gas company, and Petrobras, Brazil' s state-controlled energy company.

In the U.S., Exxon and General Electric had been trading off the No. 1 and No. 2 spots until Microsoft surpassed them both in early 1999, at the height of the dot-com boom. By 2000, though, GE was No. 1 once again. According to data from FactSet, the three were close over the next five years, though Apple was ascending quickly. Exxon, which is based in Irving, Texas, took the top spot in 2005 and remained there until Wednesday.

Apple, which is based in Cupertino, Calif., generally introduces a new product every three years, which means something new in 2013. Marshall does not expect the company to slow down any time soon.

In fact, he expects Apple to pass yet another milestone next year, when it' s likely to surpass Hewlett-Packard Co. as the world' s largest technology company by revenue. In the most recent quarter, HP reported $32 billion in revenue, compared with Apple' s $29 billion in its latest quarter.

Source: Associated Press and The Wall Street Journal






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