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Apple and ExxonMobil trade back and forth as world's most valuable firm

August 9, 2011 | 11:57 am

Apple-japan

Apple Inc. became the world's most valuable company by stock value twice on Tuesday, at one point passing ExxonMobil with a market capitalization of close to $339 billion.

The Cupertino, Calif., software company has been nipping at the oil giant's heels for months, but the turbulent stock market finally pushed ExxonMobil down far enough for Apple to float past it -- for a little while.

Apple passed ExxonMobil twice during regular trading, once around 10 a.m. PDT, and a second time around 11:15 a.m., before the general market rally ebbed a few minutes later and dropped Apple back to second place.

Apple, at one point up close to 4.2% during regular market trading to $367.42, has been enjoying years of breakneck growth, up 40% over last year, and close to 500% over the last five years.  ExxonMobil, meanwhile, is up only about 11% in the last year, and only 1% in the last five years.

The oil company's revenue of $125 billion for the recent quarter was more than four times as large as Apple's $28 billion in sales -- but Apple's international expansion of the iPhone, especially in East Asia, are helping the company keep its revenue growing quickly.

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-- David Sarno

Image: Apple store in Japan.  Credit: IvanWalsh.com / Flickr

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