With its market cap climbing to an eye-popping $621 billion on Monday, Apple (AAPL) has a new feat to add to its lengthy resume: most valuable company ever.
The latest increase in Apple’s valuation nudges the tech behemoth above the record set by software behemoth Microsoft (MSFT) back in 1999 before the bursting of the tech bubble.
Apple also continues to widen its lead over ExxonMobil (XOM), which previously held the title of the most valuable company in the world. Exxon’s market cap stood at just north of $405 billion on Monday.
To put Apple's massive market cap into perspective, $621 billion is more than the combined market valuations of tech stalwarts Intel (INTC), IBM (IBM), Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), Amazon.com (AMZN) and eBay (EBAY).
Led by late CEO Steve Jobs, Apple generated extraordinary growth by churning out blockbuster items like the iPod, iPhone and iPad.
Apple’s shares have surged 64% so far this year, compared with a more muted 12.8% gain for the S&P 500 and an 18.1% jump for the Nasdaq Composite.
Over the past five years, Apple’s stock has skyrocketed 411%, doubling Google’s (GOOG) 204% surge and vastly outperforming the S&P 500’s -7% return over that span.
Despite Apple’s impressive run, analysts largely remain very bullish on the stock. According to Thomson Reuters, 48 of 55 analysts tracked have a “strong buy” rating on Apple. Just two analysts have a “sell” or “underperform” rating.
Shares of Apple jumped 2.14% to $661.97 in recent action.
Interestingly, Microsoft’s record $620.58 billion market cap in 1999 is actually worth $853.41 billion in today’s dollars when inflation is accounted for.