Apple Has Been Bested

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) lost its status as the largest U.S. publicly traded company by market value during the trading day on Friday to Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) as its shares continued to fall. With Apple falling 2.36 percent on the day to $439.88, its market value stood at roughly $413 billion. Exxon, with its shares largely flat on the day at $91.73, had a market value above $418 billion.

Apple’s fall since Wednesday:

Exactly a year ago, on January 25, 2012, Apple’s stock-market value grew to $416.5 billion, beating out Exxon as the most valuable company in the world. The iPhone maker held onto that lead all of last year, even widening the gap to $240 billion in September when it hit a record high. At the time, just the gap was bigger than all but three stocks in the S&P 500.

However, since then, Apple shares have slipped more than 35 percent and the fresh fall this week followed its announced holiday-quarter earnings results on Wednesday. While the earnings numbers were not particularly weak, the iPhone maker failed to meet the soaring expectations of its investors and tech analysts. The company announced revenue of $54.5 billion and net profit of $13.1 billion, or $13.81 per diluted share. It also sold a record 47.8 million iPhones in the quarter.

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Forrester analyst Charles Golvin told Mashable that Apple’s falling stock price was indicative of Wall Street settling into lower expectations for the company.

“It’s a reality check on inflated expectations,” Golvin said about the market value drop. “I don’t think it’s a portent or a harbinger of diminished impact of Apple on the market. While [Apple is] still an 800 pound gorilla and bringing tremendous innovation and new experiences to consumers, others are starting to catch up to them a little bit and having some influence where they didn’t before.”

Apple is still the most valuable tech company, with both Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) possessing a value of around $250 billion each.

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