At $621 billion, Apple is the most valuable company in history

At $621 billion, Apple is the most valuable company in history
Apple became the most valuable company in the history of the world on Monday as the Cupertino based tech titan had a market cap of $621 billion after a few hours of trading to start off the week. The shares are up 64% this year alone and took Apple's market value above the previous record of $620.6 billion set by Microsoft in 1999. While Apple now makes up 4.7% of the S&P 500, that is short of the all-time record for the index. In 1983, IBM accounted for 6.3% of the benchmark.

While some might trace the beginning of the surge in Apple's stock to the June 2007 launch of the Apple iPhone, the stock had actually started moving higher prior to that thanks to the success of the Apple iPod. And while Apple's market cap did surpass Microsoft's record today in raw numbers, adding inflation to Microsoft's record value would make the Redmond based software giant's 1999 market cap worth over $850 billion in 2012 dollars meaning that in inflation-adjusted dollars, Apple still has a way to go to break the record.

For years, ExxonMobil was the most valuable company in the world with its upstream and downstream oil and gas operations. Apple is now worth 53% more than the New York based petroleum company. In the perverse and cyclic way the stock market works, being at the top today doesn't actually bode well for the future. Of the ten most valuable companies back in 1999, only IBM and Microsoft are still trading and have a higher valuation. The three most valuable firms in 1999 were Microsoft, GE and Cisco Systems. Since then, the shares of Microsoft are down 57%, GE's shares are down 56% and Cisco's have declined 72%.

In case you were wondering (and we know you were) the price of Apple's stock the day the first version of the Apple iPhone launched on June 29, 2007 was $121.52. The value of Apple's shares on October 5th of last year, the day that co-founder Steve Jobs passed away, was $376.63.

source: AP via USAToday

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