Apple is now world’s most valuable firm

Steve Dinneen
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APPLE yesterday closed as the most valuable company in the world for the first time, surpassing oil giant Exxon.

The Cupertino-based company slipped 2.8 per cent in a tough market to close at $337bn, with Exxon dropping 4.41 per cent to finish at $331bn.

Apple had briefly passed Exxon on Tuesday, ending the oil major’s five-year run at the top, but closed slightly behind. The remarkable switch, which analysts see as another indication of surging appetite for technology stocks in the US, comes despite Exxon’s revenues coming in at four times those of its rival.

Apple becomes the tenth company to have held the top spot in the S&P 500, alongside General Electric, General Motors, IBM, Microsoft, AT&T, DuPont, Philip Morris, Wal-Mart and Exxon.

In the early 1990s Apple languished at the rear-end of the top 300, with analysts saying the company’s value consisted almost exclusively of cash and property. It is a remarkable turnaround for the firm that teetered on the brink of collapse after the departure of its talismanic leader in 1984.

Steve Jobs’ return in 1997 sparked a meteoric rise, with Apple smashing its way into the smartphone market with its ultra-high margin iPhone and reinvigorating the tablet market with its record-breaking iPad.

Robert Pavlik, chief market strategist at Banyan Partners, said: “Technology is what people understand now. At some point it used to be the radio, before that it was trains. So I think it’s sort of indicative of our society.”