Is Qualcomm Edging Above Intel?

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When it comes to largest market capitalization on the S&P 500, the 29th spot once held by Intel Corp. (NASDAQ:INTC) has been taken over by one of its biggest rivals: Qualcomm Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM).

So what is market capitalization? For investors, it’s one of the most important data points to keep an eye on. At the most basic level, market capitalization gives a true comparison of a company’s value given by the stock market versus a company’s given stock.

Forbes gives an example of two different different stocks — one $10 a share and one $20 a share — and how beginning investors might believe the second is worth twice much as much as the first. This comparison, however, doesn’t mean anything when you don’t know how many shares of each company exist. Market capitalization factors in share counts and creates an authentic comparison between two companies and their value.

Market capitalization is also an important factor when looking at stocks because it places a company in relation to its peers — something Forbes likens to a mid-size sedan being compared to other mid-size sedans rather than being compared to an sport utility vehicle. In this way, it can be used to pinpoint which companies an investor might focus on depending on their goals. Some mutual funds, for example, might only be interested in investing in companies worth over $10 billion and might throw everything out while the S&P MidCap index essentially does the opposite, throwing out all the biggest 100 companies and focusing on the 400 “up-and-comers.”

With this in mind, how do Qualcomm and Intel compare now? Qualcomm, having overtaken Intel, has a market capitalization of $113.82 billion; Intel has a market capitalization of $111.85 billion.

At the very top of the list, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) reigns supreme with a market cap of $412.87 billion. Following Apple comes, in order, Exxon Mobile Corp. (NYSE:XOM) at $399.32 billion and Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) at $296.50 billion.

On Friday, Qualcomm had dropped 0.12 percent to close at $66.27. Intel rose 0.27 percent to close at $22.51.

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