Microsoft, Apple battle to be most valuable US company

Microsoft challenged Apple’s title as the most valuable U.S. company on Monday, as the iPhone maker weathered a slump that drove the tech giant into a recent bear market over concerns related to smartphone sales in the critical holiday season.

Microsoft shares rose more than 3 percent as U.S. markets and large cap tech stocks shook off recent losses. Apple shares pared early declines to finish 1.35 percent higher.

Apple’s market capitalization is now roughly $829 billion, while Microsoft closed with a valuation of about $817 billion. Microsoft came within $3 billion of surpassing Apple, which has been the U.S.’s most valuable company since 2010, Reuters reported.

Apple shares have fallen more than 20 percent since the company reported earnings on Nov. 1. That is when company officials warned that holiday sales would be at the lower end of Wall Street’s expectations and that they would no longer disclose iPhone unit sales in quarterly reports.

Weaker results from several iPhone parts makers in recent days have stoked concerns that demand for Apple’s flagship smartphone is slowing.

Apple became the first U.S. company to surpass a market cap of $1 trillion last August. Microsoft has jockeyed with both Apple and e-commerce giant Amazon for position among the most valuable companies.