It's now official – Apple has become the largest public company in the world based on its stock value. Cupertino topped Standard&Poor's 500 index, eclipsing Exxon-Mobil, the oil company which has occupied it in the last five years.
Despite it being a down day for the market, Apple closed with a market value of $336.3 billion on Tuesday, nearly $1.2 billion over Exxon-Mobil's $335.1 billion. Shares of both companies slipped in value, but Apple only suffered a 2.76% decrease, while stock of the oil giant dropped 4.41%.
And that seems to illustrate well a growing trend in the past four years as tech companies gain in value, while more traditional businesses like the oil industry, energy and banking are slowly losing investor's interest. But the tech industry changes quickly and Apple will be the first to confirm that. The California-based company went public in 1980, entering the S&P rating two years later. After ranking well in the late 80s, the company fell back to 456th in 1997. That's when Steve Jobs returned to the bitten Apple to reverse that trend. The impressive climb from rugs to riches happened largely thanks to the iPod revolution followed by the iPhone and subsequent overall improvement in brand recognition. In April 2010, Cupertino became the second largest public US company, surpassing its biggest rival Microsoft.
But while Apple has been growing quite fast, Exxon went through a much more dramatic downfall. The company's market cap fell from $410 billion three weeks ago to $335 now, a nearly $75 billion decline. Share prices have also accordingly reflected that by slipping to $70 from $85.
In the last couple of days, Apple and Exxon have been switching places all the time and the two will probably continue trading places for a while, but what does Apple's current #1 spot mean in the long term? Most importantly, it reflect momentum as most analysts currently rate Apple stock as a “strong buy.” And even though the health of Steve Jobs seems to remain Apple's biggest swing factor, the company seems to have both the growth and cash to win over the oil giant in the long term.