Bright future? Apple is worth a staggering $869bn. Photograph: Tony Gutierrez/AP
The race is on to become the world’s first trillion-dollar company, with all eyes fixed on tech giants such as Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Alphabet, the parent company of Google.
Financial commentators and investors predict 2018 will herald the first firm with a stock market valuation of $1tn (£738bn) or more, if technology share prices continue to rise as strongly as in 2017.
Apple is leading the way, with a market valuation of $869bn on Tuesday, a figure arrived at by multiplying the company’s share price by the number of shares in circulation.
The Californian firm that transformed mobile communications, music and photography with the iPhone is $140bn ahead of Alphabet, which has a market value of $729bn.
Apple, which was on the verge of bankruptcy in 1997 when its founder, Steve Jobs, retook the helm, would require a 15% increase in its share price to tip over the $1tn threshold. Apple’s shares increased by 47% last year.
The shares were up 1.8% to $172.26 at the close of trading in New York on Tuesday after a dip in the last couple of weeks.
Barron’s, the US investment magazine, declared on its cover last week that Apple would hit the $1tn valuation this year and that “we don’t think the peak [of Apple’s rise] is near”. Apple earned revenue of $229bn in its latest financial year, and made profits of $48bn – roughly as much as Microsoft and JP Morgan combined.
David Rolfe, chief investment officer at Wedgewood Partners, which manages $25bn worth of funds, told Barron’s: “You have to go back to Rockefeller and Standard Oil to find a company so dominant in a business so large. Other companies settle for unit sales or revenues, but in many quarters, Apple collects more than 80% of gross profit across the smartphone industry.”