Tech overtakes finance among top global companies

Lynsey Barber
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Tech reigns over finance in the top 100 (Source: Getty)

Technology has stolen a march on finance, with the success of companies such as Alphabet and Microsoft helping the innovative sector surpass the traditional world of financial services among the world's top 100 companies over the past year.

Technology firms in the list notched up a combined value of $3bn compared to financial firms' $2.7bn and the $2.6bn value of consumer goods companies.

Apple held its position at the top of the ranking, compiled by PwC, despite losing $121bn in market value over the past year to the end of March, and the overall value of the world's top 100 firms falling four per cent - the most significant decrease since the financial crisis, with a cash value of $668bn.

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Alphabet closed the gap on Apple in second place, narrowing its market capitalisation from $350bn to just $86bn, while Microsoft rounded out the top three. Facebook was in sixth position while Amazon entered the top 10 for the first time.

Tech firms have better weathered more choppy conditions in the global markets, particularly conditions in China and Europe's struggle with economic growth.

US top

The US extended its dominance of the ranking with companies located there making up a 62 per cent share, up from 57 per cent the previous year, or a $314bn increase in value. The top 10 is now made up of entirely US companies, the research noted.

“The US has extended its leading position by using their global reach, financial strength and ability to innovate to their advantage," said PwC's head of IPO Centre Clifford Tompsett.

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"We can also see that bigger companies have proven more resilient than average, with the exception of some natural resources companies, as despite uncertain market conditions and growth perspectives, 91 companies from 2015 remained on the list as of at 31 March 2016 – a stable level compared to previous years.”  

The UK retained its third place position in the list despite the number of companies falling from eight to seven, while Europe lost two firms, down to 24, and the region's share fell from 21 per cent to 19 per cent - or $428bn in value.

Brexit fallout?

Analysis of the period after the ranking was compiled in the run up to the UK's referendum on Europe and after the vote for Brexit found little movement in the overall market capitalisation of the top 100 firms. The UK retained its position despite small decreases in the valuations of some of the seven firms.

After a choppy week for markets following the country's vote for Brexit which ended on 10-month highs, the FTSE continued into positive territory on Monday morning's market open.

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