Can you imagine that? Apple is the 3rd largest market cap in the US.

Company Market Cap
Exxon Mobil (XOM) $316.23B
Microsoft (MSFT) $256.86B
Apple (AAPL) $213.03B
Wal-Mart (WMT) $211.85B
Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) $200.89B
General Electric (GE) $194.25B
Procter & Gamble (PG) $183.77B
Google (GOOG) $180.33B
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) $179.43B

And for comparison, 5 leading ADRs

ADR Market Cap
BHP Billiton  (BHP) $223.50B
PetroChina Company  (PTR) $214.54B
Petroleo Brasileiro  (PBR) $195.22B
China Mobile  (CHL) $193.03B
BHP Billiton (BBL) $190.42B

All data as of March 31, 2010 closing prices . . .

Category: Markets, Valuation

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

17 Responses to “Largest US Market Caps: Exxon, Microsoft, Apple . . .”

  1. Taliesyn says:

    What is there to say , but *best* investment I’ve ever made. Blew all of the mutual fund baskets of stock strategies well-meaning friends & professionals had been trying to kibitz me to death over right out of the water. Now most are basket cases while AAPL just smiles and MSFT has been a beached whale stock-wise for *all* of this new century and the Ballmer regime.
    I guess one telling incident was the CNBC sound-bite showing Bill Gates’ reaction to the announcement of the iPhone. He derisively smirked saying ” …there’s no keyboard”.
    What an over-compnestaed flaming rube.

  2. dsawy says:

    At some point, AAPL will be a heck of a short.

  3. Mike in Nola says:

    Shows what suckers people are for hype. Yeah, lotsa iphones sold, but Rim still outsells it. But they aren’t sexy.

  4. maynardGkeynes says:

    Not that many years ago DELL was the AAPL of its day with the ridiculous market cap. Everyone knew it was ridiculous, but a lot of people went broke trying to short it. AAPL is a hedge fund stock, and you will go broke shorting it way before it goes bad, like Dell.

  5. ashpelham2 says:

    AAPL is just riding the overall market up. They are ahead of the curve with their revolutionary marketing of pretty neat products. They are hot for now. I wouldn’t expect a short trade to pay off in the near future, but eventually, they all do. Question is, where is the top in AAPL?

    PS> made sure to buy some RIMM after hours after their earnings disappointment. That’s another stock that has upward potential.

  6. cognos says:

    AAPL and MSFT both have about $40B in excess cash. Both should produce about $20B in cash this year.

    MSFT is close to paying out its 100B-th $ in dividends! Really… meditate on that.

  7. HarryWanger says:

    Sure would be nice of AAPL to share some of that with their shareholders. A lot of people forget that for all the great advances they’ve made in gadgetry, there’s been a fair amount of sleaziness at this place.

  8. riffraff says:

    Remember when Cisco was the largest market cap at over $500B (and forecasts to $1T) ?

    I kept thinking that there was something wrong with that. A company of some 30,000 employees being worth more than a GE or a Walmart each with something well over 10X the employees (not to mention plants, equipment and real estate).

    I know not the best measure, but still seemed way out of whack–and still does.

  9. jrm says:

    apple is foolishly overvalued.

    the apple mania : more people owning apple stock than anything else though it doesn’t even pay a div, people with apple stickers on their cars, people arguing steve jobs is god, etc.

    apple is not even a tech seller, it’s a cool seller.

  10. Thor says:

    Listen to all you haters!

    Seriously though, I do agree with everyone pointing out how far Cisco and Microsoft have fallen. Apple has done very well with Jobs at the helm, let’s see how they do when he’s gone.

  11. constantnormal says:

    People casually toss about things like “market capitalization” (the number of shares outstanding X the price per share) without giving a whole lotta (i.e., “any”) thought toward what exactly “market cap” means. They tend to treat it as a one-number metric indicating the size or value of a company, when it is nothing of the sort. Let’s look at “size” first — does anyone believe that Apple is a “larger” company than Wal-Mart or Berkshire Hathaway, which represents most of the Bananamerican insurance and rail industries? Compare the total number of employees, the valuation of the capital investment (plant & equipment) of each. The answer is obvious — it’s not a measure of “size”.

    How about “value”? Does “market cap” represent in any way/shape/form the sum of money needed to purchase all the shares? Nosirree. Perform the following thought experiment, if one offered the market price — the “truce” between buyers and sellers — for all the shares outstanding, would that get many shares tendered? Nope. In fact, if one offered the same market price for two different companies, I would expect completely different fractions of the outstanding shares to be tendered, depending upon the prevailing future expectation for the companies involved, the dividend yields, etc. So “market cap” does not represent the dollar value of a company, in any sort of practical or useful sense.

    Let’s look at other interpretations of “value” – the ability of a company to generate profits, the fractions of the markets they serve that they control, the growth of the company’s revenues and profits over time … are any of these represented in any way/shape/form by “market capitalization”? Hell, no.

    Market capitalization is a nice term, but pretty much devoid of useful meaning, offering up only a rough idea of the current stock market valuation of the outstanding shares, and little else. It is not a metric that has much in the way of actual utility.

  12. constantnormal says:

    Paul Kedrosky had a similar nonsensical piece on comparing the market cap of AAPL vs WMT a week or so back, here’s what I posted then …

    If we look beyond comparing Apples and Watermelons, and look at some established financial metrics …

    price/free cash flow (a measure of the ability to generate cash — lower is cheaper)
    WMT: 20.85 AAPL 19.09

    net profit margin, 5-yr avg
    WMT: 3.58% AAPL 15.31%

    inventory turns
    WMT: 9 AAPL 56.75

    (data from Reuters)

    It sure looks to me as if WMT is the over-priced one here.

    Of course we could look at what might be, instead of what is … Wal-Mart could increase their inventory turns (a form of internal operating leverage, based on productivity/effectiveness instead of debt) and grow earnings quite impressively. And Apple could suddenly run into a decade-long spate of “creativity block” and wind up in a serious decline — but let’s be honest here. Neither seems likely to happen.

    Here we are comparing two completely dissimilar businesses that are worlds apart. Of COURSE AAPL has a higher comparative market cap — market cap is a function of stock price, which is a function of PE which is a function of earnings growth. But that says nothing about which business is larger, only about the relative valuation of the stock prices. And by any rational metric that you want to use, AAPL merits a higher stock valuation than does WMT.

    But having a larger market cap does NOT say that Apple is a larger company than Wal-Mart. Merely that it would take more to purchase all the shares of AAPL, due to their tremendously more efficient business model that throws off huge amounts of cash with no debt. Such a stock is naturally valued at a premium.

    But at the moment, that premium appears to be less than the premium by which WMT shares are valued, after one takes into account such things as growth rate, profit margins, debt levels, etc. That’s the idea behind using price/FCF as a metric of cash generation. And it seems to me, at least, that cash generation is what a stockholder is interested in — not aggregate revenues, or numbers of employees, or the spiffiness of the newest Apple Store or Super Wal-Mart.

  13. Dervin says:

    APPL has a few things over Dell.
    Apple is a technology company run by designers, Dell is a manufacturer run by bankers.

    There was an article not too long ago about computer revenues. Even though apple accounts for less than 10% of the PC market, they account for >25% of the revenues.

  14. constantnormal says:

    @Thor 12:19 pm

    “Apple has done very well with Jobs at the helm, let’s see how they do when he’s gone.”

    COO Tim Cook basically has run the company on a day-today basis for Quite Some Time now. And while Steve Jobs (apparently) performs a quite valuable role as gate-keeper for new products, helping(?) to decide what gets produced and what does not, and exercising dictatorial control over the style and quality of the product experience, he does not (and never has) originated the new product concepts. While it may be rough sledding when Steve departs the Apple scene, I’m pretty sure that the company will do OK.

    Tim Cook got grilled pretty thoroughly on this issue at the latest Goldman Sachs Technology Conference.

    Sadly, Apple no longer has the audio recording posted of that session posted — a shame, as that was a magnificent performance by Tim Cook. Kudos to Steve Jobs for finding a guy who could run the company better than he could.

    Basically, Cook’s answer to questions about an Apple sans Steve Jobs was to point out that for a Very Long Time now, there is a cadre of people within Apple who live and breathe a particular way of operating the business — that they really know no other way. He did not expect that to change if Steve were to disappear from the scene.

    My thinking is that it might, but not for quite a while. But I would fully expect the stock price to crater, making for an exceptional buying opportunity.

    @Dervin 12:56 pm

    They account for a much larger portion of the industry profits.

  15. Ny Stock Guy says:

    Apple keeps inventing a better mousetrap.

    Walmart & Dell keep selling the old mousetrap at a lower price.

    There are pluses and minuses to both approaches.

  16. Thor says:

    Constant – good points! Devotion to the company by it’s employees (especially many of it’s senior employees) isn’t something that should be ignored.

    NY Stock – That’s a great way to look at Apple vs Dell/Walmart!

  17. Basically, Cook’s answer to questions about an Apple sans Steve Jobs was to point out that for a Very Long Time now, there is a cadre of people within Apple who live and breathe a particular way of operating the business — that they really know no other way. He did not expect that to change if Steve were to disappear from the scene.

    from, above..

    yes, exactly, and when, after Jobs I, Scully(?)–the Idiot from PEP–took over, there was “for a Very Long Time now, there is a cadre of people within Apple who live and breathe a particular way of operating the business — that they really know no other way. “, How’d that work for AAPL?

    If one learned anything from Dukakis, in ’88, it was “the Fish rots from the head down”..

    and, yet, “We” wonder how Pol Pot was ‘possible’..riight..