Apple becomes the world’s first $2tn company

The US technology company became the first $1tn business just two years ago

 

Apple’s flag hangs from its UK headquarters in London. The company briefly surpassed a value of $2 trillion on Wednesday, regaining the position of the world’s most valuable company. EPA

Just two years after Apple became the first publicly listed US company with a $1 trillion stock market value, the iPhone maker has now topped $2 trillion.

The California-based company’s shares briefly rose to as high as $468.65 on Wednesday, equivalent to a market capitalisation of $2.004 trillion. Its share price later fell $467.62, giving Apple a market capitalisation of $1.999 trillion.

Buoyed by bets on the long-term success of the country’s biggest tech names in a post-coronavirus world, Apple’s shares have surged since impressive quarterly results in July that saw the iPhone maker eclipse Saudi Aramco as the world’s most valuable listed company. Apple’s stock is up about 57 per cent so far in 2020.

The rally reflects growing investor confidence in Apple’s shift towards relying less on sales of iPhones and more on services for its users, including video, music and games.

Apple now accounts for close to 7 per cent of the S&P 500’s total market value. Its market capitalisation is about equal to the combined values of the S&P 500’s 200 smallest companies.

 

However, Apple’s recent stock rally has left it potentially overvalued, according to a widely used metric. The stock is trading at more than 30 times analysts’ expected earnings, its highest level in more than a decade, according to Refinitiv.

Microsoft and Amazon follow Apple as the most valuable publicly traded US companies, each at about $1.6tn. They are followed by Google-owner Alphabet, at just over $1tn.

Those and other heavyweight technology companies have surged to record highs during the coronavirus pandemic as consumers rely more on e-commerce, video streaming and other services they provide. Investors are betting these companies will emerge from the pandemic stronger than smaller competitors, with some even viewing their volatile shares as safe havens.

Apple’s revenue grew across every category and all of its geographical regions in the June quarter, even as the coronavirus crisis caused the US economy to contract at its worst rate since the Great Depression.

Apple surprised Wall Street as it was able to get loyal shoppers to buy iPhones, iPads and Macs online even as several brick-and-mortar stores remained closed due to the coronavirus restrictions.

Started in the garage of co-founder Steve Jobs in 1976, Apple has pushed its revenue beyond the economic outputs of Portugal, Peru and other countries.

Current chief executive Tim Cook took over from Mr Jobs in 2011 and has more than doubled Apple’s revenue and profits under his leadership.

The iPhone maker is slated to split its stock four-for-one when trading opens on August 31, with the company saying it aims to make its shares more accessible to individual investors.

Updated: August 20, 2020 09:27 AM