Apple slips below Exxon Mobil, loses title as world’s most valuable company
By Hayley Tsukayama,
Apple’s continuing stock dive has taken one feather out of the company’s cap: The firm no longer holds its title as the world’s most valuable company.
The firm earned its title in 2011, after jockeying with Exxon Mobile for the distinction of having the largest market capitalization of any publicly traded company. When Apple’s stock soared to $500, $600 and even $700 in 2012, it seemed to have cemented the title for the long haul.
Now the company’s value has dropped below Exxon’s again, to roughly $414 billion vs. the oil company’s $417 billion.
The stock slide has been deepening for weeks. Growing concerns over whether Apple can continue its level of success in the competitive smartphone and tablet markets have sunk the company’s stock significantly since its September trading high of $705.07. After the company missed heady analysts estimates for its holiday revenue, the stock dropped 10 percent to around $460 and kept falling. In mid-day trading Friday, Apple’s stock was priced at $440.
Investors seem concerned that Apple is losing its ability to stay ahead of consumer trends and introduce ground-breaking products such as the iPod, iPhone and iPad. Much of the company’s reputation as a trend-setter centered on its late co-founder and chief executive, Steve Jobs, who passed away in October 2011.
Most investors seem unsatisfied with an Apple that can merely keep pace with the market. That’s may be what’s prompting them to sell off stock in a company that, despite its stock drop, is still turning in record revenue and sales figures. Analysts, after all, largely still rate Apple as a “Buy,” even as it loses global market share to companies that offer cheaper and more varied products.
The company’s largest competitor, Samsung, reported late Thursday that it had seen its quarterly profits increase 76 percent thanks to its premium Galaxy line and an array of cheaper smartphones that have taken hold in markets such as China.
Apple has made it clear that it will not produce lower-quality products simply to pursue consumers only interested in a lower price point.
Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said Wednesday during the company’s earnings call that he is more focused on continuing to innovate in the consumer electronics space, even if it comes at the expense of market share.
“We only want to make the best products,” Cook said. “We’re focused on making products that enrich lives.”
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