Apple Briefly Replaces Exxon As Largest Public U.S. Company

Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) has become the largest U.S. company in terms of market cap – perhaps temporarily – as a result of the intensely volatile trading the markets have witnessed recently.

Reuters reported that during Tuesday’s trading, Apple’s market value reached $341.5-billion vs. Exxon's $341.4-billion figure.

As of 2:30 p.m. (New York time), Apple stock is up 3.26 percent, while Exxon shares are down 2.24 percent.

Ironically, Exxon still generates about four times the annual revenue that Apple does.

Reuters stated that later in the day, Apple relinquished its top spot to Exxon.

Since July 1, Apple’s value has jumped by $20-billion (partially due to roaring iPhone and IPad sales), while Exxon’s value has plunged by $60-billion due to volatile crude oil prices.

In any case, the rise of Apple has been nothing short of phenomenal.

According to Howard Silverblatt, senior index strategist at Standard & Poor’s, ten years ago (August 2001), Apple was the 287th largest component of the S&P 500 index (it is now number 2 and could be solidly number 1 any day now).

Apple surpassed Microsoft as the second largest public U.S. company in April 2010.

Silverblatt also indicated that throughout the history of the S&P 500 index, only nine other companies (or their antecedents) have ever held the top spot in terms of market cap value: AT&T (NYSE: T); DuPont (NYSE: DD); Exxon; General Electric (NYSE: GE), General Motors (NYSE: GM), IBM (NYSE: IBM), Microsoft Corp (Nasdaq: MSFT); Phillip Morris [now Altria Group(NYSE: MO)]; and Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT)