Apple crosses $1 trillion value, now the most valuable and richest company in the World

Apple just became the first American public company to cross $1 trillion in value. The iPhone maker achieved that big number on Thursday when the stock passed $207.04 a share. Its new all-time high is $207.05. Apple is now up more than 20% this year.

Shares surged after Apple reported earnings that topped forecasts and a healthy outlook on Wednesday.

Even though some think Apple (AAPL) needs a new product to keep sales and profits booming, Apple has rallied past the trillion level thanks to solid sales of the iPhone 8 and X — particularly in China and Japan — and surging services revenue from the App Store.

Wall Street thinks Apple could go even higher. Thirteen analysts have a price target of above $225 for Apple. The most bullish, Brian White of Monness, Crespi, Hardt & Co., has a price target of $275 a share. That would value Apple at $1.3 trillion.

Apple is benefiting from investor euphoria surrounding the tech sector broadly as well — and it could soon have company in the trillion dollar club.

Amazon(AMZN), Google owner Alphabet (GOOGL) and Microsoft (MSFT) have all rallied to near record highs this year, too. Amazon is worth nearly $900 billion while Google and Microsoft are each now worth more than $800 billion.

Apple is not the first publicly traded company in the world to surpass the trillion dollar mark though.

Oil giant PetroChina (PTR) briefly topped a trillion dollar valuation in 2007 when its stock began trading in Shanghai, but shares quickly plunged afterward. PetroChina, which is also listed on the New York Stock Exchange, is now worth about $205 billion.

Apple traces its origins to the garage of co-founder Steve Jobs in 1976 and was initially best known for its Mac personal computers before its smartphone paved the way for the app economy.

Mr Jobs, who died in 2011 and was succeeded as chief executive by Tim Cook, oversaw the development of the iPhone, which transformed Apple’s fortunes.

In 2006 the company had sales of less than $20bn and posted profits of almost $2bn.

Last year its sales hit $229bn, with profits of $48.4bn, making it the most profitable listed US company.

PetroChina was briefly worth about $1.1 trillion after floating in Shanghai in 2007, although most of its shares were held by the Chinese government. It is now worth about $220bn.

Analysis

By Dave Lee, BBC’s North America technology reporter

It may have been the vision of Steve Jobs that hurtled Apple towards this milestone, but it was the business acumen of Tim Cook that tipped them over.

While other tech stocks have struggled, Apple has soared ahead. The surge in its shares has been driven by two key factors.

It is selling fewer iPhones, but by releasing a more expensive version last year, it is making more money per device.

Apple has also diversified the sources of its profits. It now makes about $10bn every three months from services such as selling apps, cloud storage and music streaming.

The firm told investors this week that it expected a very strong end to the year helped, naturally, by the release of yet another new iPhone.

Stock markets are volatile, and a small but growing threat from Chinese smartphone makers might eat into Apple’s margins in the coming years.

But no matter what your view of the company and its products, Apple devices have changed the world – and today made financial history as well.

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