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Apple shares plunge, Google headed for $US1000

AFR | March 5, 2013

Apple shares plunge, Google headed for $US1000

Google CEO Larry Page, left, and Apple CEO Tim Cook, right. The smartphone battle between Google’s Android, and Apple’s iOS is making its mark on the marks on the financial markets. Photo: Reuters. 

Apple has lost the title of most valuable US company in terms of market capitalisation, after Monday's trading session saw its shares drop 2.4 per cent to about $US420, arch-rival Google however is on a roll.

In Monday's trading session on Wall Street, Apple's market capitalisation - the total value of all available shares - dropped to $US394 billion. While shares in Exxon Mobil also fell (by 0.5 per cent to $US88.95,) the oil giant still managed to overtake Apple with a market cap of $US400.5 billion.

Perhaps mirroring the battle for smartphone marketshare between Google's Android, and Apple's iOS operating systems, Google stock is currently on a roll. Its shares hit an all-time closing high of $US821.50 on Monday and some securities analysts are already forecasting the search company could soon be a $US1000 stock.

Its surge to new highs has come as its Android software dominates the mobile phone market and it continues to lead in mobile advertising. The gains have put Google firmly in third place behind Exxon and Apple in termsof market cap.

In Monday trading, Apple fell as low as $US419 to establish a 52-week low before closing slightly higher. It was the first time that the company's market cap has dropped below the $US400 billion mark since the company's record-breaking Christmas quarter at the end of 2011 first vaulted it to the top of the pile over Exxon.

Apple then went on a wild ride that gave it the highest market cap of any US company in history, without adjusting for inflation, as its stock price rose as high as $US705.07.

Since hitting that peak on September 21 - the day the iPhone 5 was released in the United States - shares have been in a nose-dive amid worries about Apple's production capabilities and doubts about its ability to continue to innovate beyond its current product lineup.

Apple's announcement of more record-breaking revenues in the 2012 holiday quarter were not enough to quell doubts, and Exxon overtook Apple for a day in January immediately following that earnings report.

Apple regained top spot in the next trading session and has retained it since, but another bout of weakness pushed the oil giant back in front Monday. From the end of trading February 22 through Monday, Apple stock has declined almost 7 per cent after an investor lawsuit that affected last week's annual shareholders meeting and a ruling Friday that nearly halved the gigantic patent-infringement judgment it won in a landmark court battle with Samsung.


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