Apple Becomes The World’s Most Valuable Company

Apple Inc. is officially the world’s most valuable company.

The iPhone maker saw its market value overtake that of oil company Saudi Aramco at the close of trading last Friday following better-than-expected earnings. Apple’s share price jumped 10% last Friday, ending the day with a record market capitalization of $1.817 trillion U.S.

It’s the first time the company’s valuation has surpassed that of Saudi Arabia’s national oil company, which made its market debut in Riyadh last December and is valued at $1.76 trillion U.S. Before that, Apple had vied with Microsoft Corp. for the title of the U.S.’s largest public company.

The dethroning of Saudi Aramco comes after a tumultuous period for the oil company. Its initial public offering fell short of Crown Price Mohammed bin Salman’s expectations. The kingdom’s de facto ruler initially wanted a valuation of $2 trillion U.S. and to raise $100 billion U.S. from the share sale. But after foreign investors balked at the pricing, the government settled on a smaller domestic offering that raised about $30 billion U.S, making it the largest IPO in history.

Meanwhile, Apple has benefited as the pandemic has strengthened the market positions of the world’s biggest technology companies, which boast strong balance sheets and fast-growing businesses thanks to an acceleration in the shift to digital services. The iPhone maker’s shares have gained 45% this year.

Saudi Aramco’s stock is down 6.4% since the end of December amid depressed oil prices, though that’s far less than the fall of other oil majors. Exxon Mobil Corp. has declined 40% and Royal Dutch Shell Plc has fallen 50%.

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