KEY POINTS

  • Year to date Apple shares have surged about 60%.
  • On July 31, Apple passed Aramco to become the world’s largest publicly traded company
  • Apple has flourished during the COVID-19 pandemic

Apple (AAPL) on Wednesday became the first publicly traded U.S. company ever to reach $2 trillion in market cap size.

The milestone was accomplished just prior to 11 a.m. EDT when Apple shares reached $467.77 in price with about 4.275 billion shares outstanding.

Year to date Apple shares have surged about 60%.

It took the tech giant only about two years to double its market cap – having scaled the $1 trillion summit on Aug. 2, 2018.

On July 31, Apple passed Saudi Arabia’s state-controlled oil behemoth Aramco to become the world’s largest publicly traded company. Aramco reached the $2 trillion mark last December, but has since endured declines due to the falling price of crude oil.

Apple has flourished during the COVID-19 pandemic, posting very strong fiscal third-quarter results. Apple posted revenue of $59.7 billion for that quarter, shattering Wall Street estimates

Apple also recently announced a four-to-one stock split under which each Apple stockholders of record as of Aug. 24 will receive three additional shares.

Some of Apple’s well-known tech peers may eventually join the $2 trillion club. Amazon (AMZN), Microsoft (MSFT) and Google parent Alphabet (GOOG) now have market caps of $1.65 trillion, $1.6 trillion and $1.06 trillion, respectively.

To put Apple’s market cap in perspective, consider that the $2 trillion figure is comparable to the annual gross domestic products of such countries as Italy, Brazil and Canada.

Investors keep pouring billions of dollars into big-cap tech stocks.

“[Tech has] become the new flight to safety,” Aswath Damodaran, a New York University finance professor, told the New York Times. “This [COVID-19] crisis has strengthened what was already a strong hand.”

“Our products and services are very relevant to our customers’ lives, and in some cases, even more during the pandemic than ever before,” Luca Maestri, Apple’s finance chief, said last month.

But like its large-cap tech peers, Apple has come under criticism for its dominance and corporate practices,

“Their ability to dictate terms, call the shots, upend entire sectors and inspire fear represent the powers of a private government,” said Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., chairman of the House subcommittee investigating big tech firms. “As hard as it is to believe, it is possible that our economy will emerge from this crisis even more concentrated and consolidated than before.”