Apple reaches new landmark with US$1 trillion valuation

By AFP

(AFP) — Apple – the culture-changing company behind the iPod, iPhone and iPad — hit another milestone on Thursday, becoming the first private-sector company to surpass US$1 trillion in market value.

Shares of Apple finished the formal Wall Street trading day at US$207.39, topping the magic number two days after the California tech giant reported strong quarterly earnings.

The landmark is the latest victory for Tim Cook, who faced scepticism when he took over as chief executive in 2011 from ailing iconic co-founder Steve Jobs.

Jobs, who founded Apple in a Silicon Valley garage in 1976 with Steve Wozniak and built it into a global powerhouse, died in October 2011.

After the death of master pitchman Jobs, analysts and other industry watchers wondered whether the company would lose its ability to create buzz for “the next big thing.”

But Cook has gradually won accolades from investors by pumping out a series of solid financial results and spreading Apple’s products to China and other foreign markets.

Apple is the first private sector company to reach this level. State oil company PetroChina briefly broke the US$1 trillion barrier in 2007 during its initial public offering, but has since dropped back down.

US tech companies have cemented their position in the broader market, now making up the top five most valuable enterprises based on share prices.

Behind Apple are Amazon, Google parent Alphabet, Microsoft and Facebook.

A trillion dollars is roughly the annual gross domestic product of Indonesia, and more than twice that of Belgium, according to World Bank data from 2016.

As with other landmarks – such as the Dow crossing 25,000 points for the first time – the Apple record is significant because of its resonance beyond the financial universe.

“The US$1 trillion mark is more psychological, and sends a message of growth and size into the market,” said Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at S&P Dow Jones Indices.

Many financial insiders, however, view the record as a non-event.

“There’s no real excitement on the trading desk,” said Karl Haeling of LBBW. “It’s one of those things that does not mean anything by itself… it’s more a testimony of the importance of Apple on the market.”

Cook has put a focus on digital content and services, positioning Apple to make money from music, movies, apps, subscriptions and more – all sold to the vast “install base” of people using devices made by the company.

Apple has sold more than a billion iPhones since the first model was unveiled by Jobs in 2007.

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