Apple: The World's First Trillion-Dollar Company

How time flies when you're stupid rich.

It seems like just yesterday that we were talking about Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) crossing the $400 billion market cap threshold for the first time ever, but that was actually four whole weeks ago. Before we knew it, Cupertino returned to its earnings estimate-pounding ways … with a vengeance.

The explosive quarter helped propel shares to new heights, and then proceeded to reclaim the market cap crown from oil giant ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM  ) . Shares have been on a run ever since, and are now even flirting with the magical $500 threshold for the first time ever. How have those gains translated in the market cap race?

Source: YCharts.

Apple's market cap now stands over $50 billion higher than Exxon's thanks to the recent rally. In fact, if you compare Apple to archrivals Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) and Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) , it has their caps -- combined -- beat. Together, they come in at $455.6 billion,  just under Apple's $458.73 billion capitalization.

Looking at recent net incomes tells a similar story, with Apple now also taking a lead from the oil baron in quarterly profit.

Source: YCharts.

The Mac maker's staggering $13.06 billion bottom line has squeezed out a lead over Exxon in this race too. Once again, Big G and Mr. Softy joining forces would result in just $9.33 billion in profit, coming up short compared to the Colossus from Cupertino.

While some Fools think Apple may be peaking, I think it's still a buy, thanks to growth markets like China and the enterprise, which are just now getting tapped.

There's been a lot of talk of Apple reaching the mythical realm of a trillion-dollar market cap, which would require the company to more than double from current prices. Remember that Wall Street analysts, who are notorious for underestimating Cupertino, have price targets as high as $700 for Apple shares. With 932 million shares outstanding, that would be a $652 billion capitalization.

All of a sudden, a trillion-dollar cap doesn't sound so mythical after all.

Speaking of 13-digit figures, the mobile revolution is set to become "The Next Trillion-Dollar Revolution," thanks in part to Apple. There are lots of companies that are set to cash in on it, but one in particular has excellent prospects. The company is one of few players that will help power the mobile devices of the future, and it also has exposure to the explosive growth in China. Click here for access to this 100% free report.

Fool contributor Evan Niu owns shares of Apple, but he holds no other position in any company mentioned. Click here to see his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Microsoft, Apple, and Google. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Apple, Microsoft, and Google; creating a bull call spread position in Apple; and creating a bull call spread position in Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


Read/Post Comments (7) | Recommend This Article (21)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2012, at 10:35 PM, iParadigm2watch wrote:

    I just had to post, that it is all a wonderful ride, if you indeed bought AAPL @$78.00!

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2012, at 10:46 PM, iParadigm2watch wrote:

    I bought 1000 shares at $85.00 ea.

    I thought, I have completely lost my mind this time.

    My life's savings on Apple.

    I am in financial shock. A "trillion dollar company" is becoming fantomable. Oh my!

    I am amazed I hold the stock.

    A once in a lifetime for me.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2012, at 11:39 PM, dwilh51183 wrote:

    Apple is due for a pullback. Like tomorrow. So sell and lock in your profits

  • Report this Comment On February 10, 2012, at 1:36 AM, mesmd wrote:

    Why sell when you might as well just take it easy and wait till Aapl, whether or not pulls back here and there, will keep on climbing! The only reason to sell might be the need for some immediate cash? You will need to rebuy what you sold as this stock will be on a progressive climb towards 750 to 1000, split, or pay a dividend, eventually, possibly all of the above!

  • Report this Comment On February 10, 2012, at 2:41 AM, iphonerulez wrote:

    Excuse me, but Apple hasn't reached a half-trillion dollar market cap yet, so I'd say this article is a bit premature. I'm a long-term shareholder since 2004 and I do hope Apple gets there, but this call is way too early. Maybe two years from now if the economy improves and all the schools start using iPads.

  • Report this Comment On February 10, 2012, at 10:22 AM, AceOfSaves wrote:

    @iphonerulez

    I don't think this article is premature at all. The author is not suggesting a time frame of when the trillion dollar value will get achieved but is just suggesting the idea that the possibility for a company to achieve it is not so unfathomable anymore. And right now, Apple has the best chance to reach that milestone. I think Apple can achieve it in 5 - 10 years. If it happens sooner, I'd be gladly wrong.

  • Report this Comment On February 10, 2012, at 11:40 AM, dctodd27 wrote:

    Trees don't grow to the sky, people - where's the margin of safety in this analysis? And to the guy who has his life savings in one stock...what are you thinking?! Stupid always catches up with lucky...

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