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Apple Becomes Most Valuable Publicly-Traded Stock Ever

Milestones for Apple's stock are falling rapidly in recent days, with another strong performance today pushing Apple past Microsoft for the title of most valuable publicly-trade stock ever, a distinction Microsoft has held since December 1999.


Microsoft's market capitalization peaked on December 30, 1999, reaching an intraday high of $119.94 per share. With Microsoft having documented 5,160,024,593 outstanding shares as of October 31, 1999 in its quarterly earnings report, the company would have had a market capitalization of $618.89 billion on December 30.

Apple's most recent quarterly filing listed 937,406,000 outstanding shares as of July 13, 2012, and with the company's stock price hitting $660.73 today, its market capitalization reached $619.37 billion.

While Apple now holds the all-time market capitalization record in terms of raw numbers, accounting for inflation would still allow Microsoft to retain the title by a fairly wide margin. In inflation-adjusted terms, Microsoft's $618.89 market capitalization in December 1999 would be equivalent to roughly $842.5 billion in today's dollars.

Apple's market capitalization title is also subject to several other caveats, perhaps most notably being PetroChina's trillion dollar market cap it achieved when it launched for trading on the Shanghai stock exchange in 2007. That figure comes with its own qualifications, however, as PetroChina is a government-dominated firm that saw only 2% of its shares being made available on the Shanghai exchange. Trading in PetroChina shares on the Hong Kong exchange and American depositary receipts on the New York Stock Exchange never supported the trillion dollar valuation the company received on the Shanghai exchange.

Update: Apple's stock closed at $665.15 today, giving the company a market capitalization of $623.5 billion.

Top Rated Comments

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27 months ago
I wish I could go back in time and buy a bunch of Apple's stocks! :(
Rating: 28 Votes
27 months ago
.... but but but that's because ummm.... there is no Android stock on the stock market, and ummmm... because if there was, Apple stock would probably be like NEGATIVE 660 in value instead of positive 600. Yep, that's the ticket... and it's all fanboy sheep who buy the stock anyways, and there will be a crash and correction soon, and... and.... :rolleyes:
Rating: 20 Votes
27 months ago
Too bad Steve didn't make it to see this day. I'm sure he'd be beaming with pride. One hell of a success story. :apple:
Rating: 19 Votes
27 months ago
It's mind boggling to think that, at the time, Microsoft was almost exclusively a software company and its most well received OSes of late, XP and Windows 7, hadn't even been launched. We're talking Windows 98 and 98 SE here :eek:

Practical value of this news story: none. Like every other stock milestone announcement.


The practical value of nearly every story on here is 0. It's a rumors site, not a gardening how-to site.
Rating: 18 Votes
27 months ago

got in at $11.21:) but only have 50 shares left:(


Shucks, you only have $33,020.50 in apple stock, a 5891% return on investment.
Rating: 18 Votes
27 months ago
One big bubble ready to burst.
Rating: 12 Votes
27 months ago
got in at $11.21:) but only have 50 shares left:(
Rating: 11 Votes
27 months ago

One big bubble ready to burst.


An iBubble.


Right.... because the valuation of AAPL is completely based on speculation rather than revenue, earnings and assets. "Bubbles" are defined as


trade in high volumes at prices that are considerably at variance with intrinsic values


(see Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_bubble#cite_note-robustness-0) for multiple references on that definition).

If anything, AAPL has been the anti-bubble for years now. The P/E ratio of speculative stocks like Amazon (AMZN) is over 290. The P/E ratio for AAPL has been hovering at 14 to 16 all year (currently 15.6). The P/E ratio is even lower for AAPL if you calculate the forward P/E (i.e.: price to earnings using this year's earnings). It gets even more insane if you look at the fact that Apple has one fifth of the market capitalization in no-risk cash or cash-equivalent assets and the company has zero debt. If you subtract the cash assets from the market cap and then recalculate the P/E it falls well below 10. For reference, Google's (GOOG) P/E ratio is 20 and Microsoft's (MSFT) is about 15.4. So investors are being more speculative on GOOG and just as speculative on MSFT, despite AAPL outperforming both companies consistently quarter after quarter.

If you want an example of a "bubble", then look at Amazon (AMZN). With their 290+ P/E ratio, investors would have to see Amazon garner near 100% of all retailing (not just online retailing) in the next 10 years without drawing government regulation because of monopoly power on price controls. AMZN is the the definition of a "bubble" stock. There are no fundamental "intrinsic values" to support Amazon's stock price -- it is 100% speculation that something about Amazon's formula will one day yield Apple-like profit. On the other hand, Apple is doing "Apple-like" profit today with potential to grow in the markets they profit in considering their current share of the market and their opening up to new geographies internationally.

There's a little education in economics for you. Bubbles are about things being artificially inflated due to speculation driving demand. Nothing about AAPL stock price is speculative. If the company maintained its anemic P/E ratio and just kept increasing revenue on their current (or half their current) trajectory the stock price would break $1000 in the next 12 months.
Rating: 8 Votes
27 months ago
Practical value of this news story: none. Like every other stock milestone announcement.
Rating: 8 Votes
27 months ago

got in at $11.21:) but only have 50 shares left:(


First World Wall Street Problems :p
Rating: 7 Votes

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