In Focus

The world’s most valuable companies

Apple briefly hit the milestone $3 trillion valuation on the first day of trading in 2022

Tech giant Apple started the new year with a bang as it became the first company in the world to reach a £3 trillion (£2.2trn) stock market valuation. At around midday on the first day of trading in 2022, shares in the Cupertino-based firm briefly hit a record of $182.88, before closing at $182.01.

Apple’s milestone underscores how the pandemic has “stoked demand for personal electronics and digital services”, Sky News said. And investors bet that consumers “will continue to shell out” for iPhones, MacBooks and other gadgets and services such as Apple TV and Apple Music.

Here we look at the six companies who are valued at more than $1trn…

1

Apple CEO Tim Cook

Apple CEO Tim Cook

Valerie Macon/AFP via Getty Images

Apple: $2.986trn

The coronavirus pandemic has “turbocharged Big Tech” and Apple’s value has risen by $1trn in less than 16 months, the FT reported. In late October last year Apple briefly lost its title as the world’s most valuable company to Microsoft, but “a strong rally the following month restored its crown”. Apple became a $1trn company in August 2018 and in 2020 reached a $2trn valuation. In 2021 Tim Cook celebrated his tenth year as CEO. 

2

Microsoft logo

Getty Images

Microsoft: $2.513trn

Microsoft briefly passed Apple as the world’s most valuable publicly traded company last year and analysts predict that it could also hit the $3trn market capitalisation, Investopedia reported. Its cloud revenue could be the “key factor that will drive its valuation higher”. However, shares fell by almost 9% between November and December, and investors “should be wary of pullbacks”.

3

Alphabet Inc and Google product logos

Chesnot/Getty Images

Alphabet: $1.927trn 

Alphabet, Google’s parent company, briefly hit a market cap of $2trn in November 2021. Big Tech’s boom throughout the pandemic saw companies across the world shift from in-person workplaces to remote, cloud-based work environments and Google “benefited in the form of cloud storage subscriptions and digital ads”, The Verge reported. Since the start of 2021 its value rose by 66%, said Jared Blikre on Yahoo! Finance

4

Saudi Aramco’s Ras Tanura oil refinery and oil terminal in Ras Tanura, Saudi Arabia

Saudi Aramco’s Ras Tanura oil refinery and oil terminal

2018 Bloomberg Finance LP

Saudi Aramco: $1.893trn

Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest oil company, hit the $2trn mark on a number of occasions in the past couple of years – and in 2019 it became the first company in the world to reach the milestone, CNN reported. With a “near monopoly on production in the world’s leading oil-exporting nation”, Aramco is a “rare case of an old-line company that tops technology giants in market value”, The New York Times said.

5

Amazon

Getty Images

Amazon: $1.728trn

In July 2021 Jeff Bezos’s 27-year spell as Amazon CEO came to an end as Andy Jassy took charge of the multinational tech giant. ​​After a strong stock performance in 2020, Amazon trailed 2021’s “healthy market rally”, Barron’s said. However, 2022 could be a “banner year” and the company’s fortunes are poised to change. Amazon is “uniquely positioned to exit this crisis as one of the biggest beneficiaries of accelerated digital transformation”.

6

Tesla Model S Performance

Tesla

Tesla: $1.205trn

Led by Elon Musk, the world’s richest person, electric car maker Tesla joined the “$1trn club” in October 2021. It has been the world’s most valuable carmaker for some time, but for years it “struggled to ramp up production” and investors speculated it would fail, the BBC said. However, last year the company “upped its game and became profitable for the first time, prompting its shares to take off”.

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