In 2018, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) became the first company to reach a market capitalization of $1 trillion. A few years later, six of the largest companies by market cap have exceeded that number. Although the top spot has changed hands on multiple occasions, Apple has spent the most time there and is currently the most valuable company in the world.
While tech companies dominate the top of the stock market, there are other sectors represented, including oil, insurance, medical companies, and luxury brands. Read on to see the 20 biggest companies and where they stand as of November 2023.
- Apple is the largest company in the world, with a market cap of $2.72 trillion.
- It's followed by Microsoft ($2.57 trillion), Saudi Arabian Oil ($2.14 trillion), Alphabet ($1.59 trillion), and Amazon ($1.49 trillion).
- Tech companies have been growing rapidly. Seven of the 10 largest companies are in the sector, and all of them have outpaced the S&P 500 over the past five years.
- There are only four non-U.S. companies in the top 20: Saudi Arabian Oil, Novo Nordisk, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, and LVMH.
Largest companies by market cap
Largest companies by market cap
- Market cap: $2.72 trillion (as of Nov. 2)
- Revenue (TTM): $383.93 billion
- Gross profit (TTM): $166.82 billion
- Five-year annualized return: 27.38%
- Year founded: 1976
Tech giant Apple is proof of how far high-quality products and strong brand loyalty can go. It first became the world's most valuable company on Aug. 9, 2011, just 15 days before Steve Jobs resigned as CEO. Although other companies have surpassed it at times since then, Apple has held the top spot for the better part of a decade. It also holds the distinction of being the first company to hit market caps of $1 trillion, $2 trillion, and $3 trillion.
Apple built its success off sales of its wildly popular products, including the iPhone, MacBook, and AirPods. Next year, it plans to launch the Apple Vision Pro, a mixed-reality headset. It has also branched out into services, including its Apple TV+ streaming service.
- Market cap: $2.57 trillion (as of Nov. 2)
- Revenue (TTM): $218.31 billion
- Gross profit (TTM): $151.06 billion
- Five-year annualized return: 26.66%
- Year founded: 1975
Considering the popularity of the Windows operating system, it’s no surprise that Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) has consistently ranked as one of the largest companies in the world. Nearly 70% of computers use Windows, according to Statcounter. While it's most famous for Windows, Microsoft also has a diverse selection of products and services that has helped to build on its success, including:
- Office Suite software
- Azure cloud platform
- Xbox video game consoles
- Surface computer and tablets
Microsoft has been the world's largest company before, and it briefly surpassed Apple for the biggest market cap in 2021. However, Apple reclaimed the top spot a month later.
3. Saudi Arabian Oil
- Market cap: $2.14 trillion* (as of Nov. 2)
- Revenue (TTM): $551.97 billion*
- Gross profit (TTM): $283.65 billion*
- Year founded: 1933
*Converted from Saudi riyals.
Saudi Arabian Oil, also known as Saudi Aramco, is an energy and chemicals company. Owned by the Saudi Arabian government, it has the largest daily oil production and the second-largest proven crude oil reserves of all oil companies.
Since Saudi Aramco is largely dependent on oil prices, it went through significant ups and downs in 2022. Heavy oil demand helped it claim the top spot in terms of market cap early in May of last year, but when demand fell, it was surpassed again by Apple and Microsoft. To diversify its portfolio, Saudi Aramco invested $500 million in a liquified natural gas (LNG) company, MidOcean Energy, in September 2023.
4. Alphabet (Google)
- Market cap: $1.59 trillion (as of Nov. 2)
- Revenue (TTM): $296.38 billion
- Gross profit (TTM): $165.75 billion
- Five-year annualized return: 18.74%
- Year founded: 1998 (Google), 2015 (Alphabet)
Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG) is the holding company created through a restructuring of Google in 2015. Of course, Google is most well-known as a search engine, becoming so famous that the name is synonymous with online searches. That's just one of Alphabet’s many widely used products, which also include:
- Email service Gmail
- Video site YouTube
- Navigation apps Waze and Maps
- Pixel smartphones
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- Market cap: $1.49 trillion (as of Nov. 2)
- Revenue (TTM): $554.03 billion
- Gross profit (TTM): $256.20 billion
- Five-year annualized return: 10.47%
- Year founded: 1994
E-commerce leader Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) started out as an online bookstore, which goes to show just how much its reach has expanded. It's now the site where you can buy practically anything, and it’s the largest online retailer in the world.
Its Amazon Prime service has more than 200 million users worldwide. It's also the largest cloud provider in the world with Amazon Web Services (AWS). And that's only the tip of the iceberg. Amazon also has its Amazon Prime Video streaming service and video game streaming through Twitch, plus it owns the Whole Foods Market grocery chain.
Yet it isn't all good news. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and 17 states filed an antitrust lawsuit against Amazon in September 2023 alleging that Amazon is a monopoly that uses anti-competitive practices to maintain its position. It remains to be seen how much of an impact the lawsuit will have, but it's expected to be an uphill battle for the FTC.
- Market cap: $1.05 trillion (as of Nov. 2)
- Revenue (TTM): $32.68 billion
- Gross profit (TTM): $21.12 billion
- Five-year annualized return: 51.10%
- Year founded: 1993
Tech company Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) develops and manufactures graphics processing units (GPUs) originally used for PC graphics and video games. In recent years, Nvidia's GPUs have become widely used for mining cryptocurrency (using computer processing power to validate crypto transactions and earn rewards). Nvidia has also branched out into artificial intelligence (AI) hardware and software.
- Market cap: $801.46 billion (as of Nov. 2)
- Revenue (TTM): $1216.96 billion
- Gross profit (TTM): $101.68 billion
- Five-year annualized return: 15.71%
- Year founded: 2004
The company formerly known as Facebook rebranded in 2021 and announced a new focus on building the metaverse. The jury is still out on how successful the rebrand will be. For now, Meta's (NASDAQ:META) biggest products are its social networks, Facebook, and Instagram.
It also owns WhatsApp and Messenger, and it has expanded into virtual reality with its Meta Quest 2 and its acquisition of Oculus. Meta makes the vast majority of its money from advertising, which accounted for a whopping 97.5% of its revenue in 2022.
8. Berkshire Hathaway
- Market cap: $760.42 billion (as of Nov. 2)
- Revenue (TTM): $333.00 billion
- Gross profit (TTM): $68.17 billion
- Five-year annualized return: 11.17%
- Year founded: 1839
Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B) started out as a textile company and remained in that business for more than a century, but it's now known for its ties to legendary investor Warren Buffett. He began investing in Berkshire in 1962, and he took majority control in 1965.
Buffett has acted as chairman and CEO since then and converted Berkshire to a holding company in 1970. While its main business is insurance (it owns one of the largest insurance companies, GEICO), Berkshire has also invested in companies across a range of industries.
- Market cap: $653.78 billion (as of Nov. 2)
- Revenue (TTM): $95.92 billion
- Gross profit (TTM): $19.00 billion
- Five-year annualized return: 54.86%
- Year founded: 2003
Electric vehicles (EVs) are growing in popularity, and no company has been riding that wave more than Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA). It's the most valuable automaker in the world and has the world's best-selling car in the Model Y.
Tesla is most famous for its vehicles, and it's second only to China's BYD Company (OTC:BYDDY) among the largest EV companies in terms of manufacturing. That's not all it has to offer, though. In addition to EVs, Tesla also manufactures solar roofs, solar panels, and Powerwall, an integrated battery system that stores solar energy.
10. Eli Lilly
- Market cap: $526.60 billion (as of Nov. 2)
- Revenue (TTM): $32.07 billion
- Gross profit (TTM): $26.46 billion
- Five-year annualized return: 40.27%
- Year founded: 1876
Founded by a chemist and Union Army veteran of the same name, Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY) is one of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies. Its main revenue drivers are diabetes drugs, and it was the first company to mass-produce insulin and the polio vaccine. Eli Lilly also manufactures antidepressants, most notably Prozac.
Eli Lilly has been soaring up the ranks of the biggest companies this year. Just six months ago, it was outside the top 20. But it has recently hit record highs, in part thanks to acquisitions of Sigilon Therapeutics and Versanis Bio.
11. UnitedHealth Group
- Market cap: $492.42 billion (as of Nov. 2)
- Revenue (TTM): $359.98 billion
- Gross profit (TTM): $79.62 billion
- Five-year annualized return: 15.48%
- Year founded: 1977
UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) is a healthcare and insurance company. It operates two main businesses: UnitedHealthcare and Optum. UnitedHealthcare offers employer and individual, Medicare and retirement, community and state, and global health insurance. Optum provides healthcare services, analytics, and pharmacy care services.
- Market cap: $485.84 billion (as of Nov. 2)
- Revenue (TTM): $32.65 billion
- Gross profit (TTM): $25.14 billion
- Five-year annualized return: 11.71%
- Year founded: 1958
Visa (NYSE:V) is the most widespread payment network in the world, and it processes transactions for prepaid cards, debit cards, and credit cards. It processed 192.5 billion transactions in 2022 across 160 currencies, for a total of $11.6 trillion in payments volume.
- Market cap: $443.76 billion (as of Nov. 2)
- Revenue (TTM): $630.79 billion
- Gross profit (TTM): $152.62 billion
- Five-year annualized return: 10.22%
- Year founded: 1962
Walmart (NYSE:WMT) may not have the largest market cap, but it is No. 1 in terms of revenue, and it’s the largest retailer in the world. With more than $600 billion in annual revenue, it earns more than most of the other companies on this list by a wide margin.
14. Novo Nordisk
- Market cap: $441.51 billion (as of Nov. 2)
- Revenue (TTM): $27.05 billion
- Gross profit (TTM): $22.82 billion
- Five-year annualized return: 37.06%
- Year founded: 1923
Danish pharmaceutical manufacturer Novo Nordisk A/S (FRA:NOVC) became Europe's most valuable company due to demand for its diabetes and weight loss drugs Ozempic and Wegovy. A study has also found that Wegovy may reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, which could make it an even bigger revenue-driver for this healthcare company.
- Market cap: $432.39 billion (as of Nov. 2)
- Revenue (TTM): $344.75 billion
- Gross profit (TTM): $133.72 billion
- Five-year annualized return: 6.23%
- Year founded: 1882 (Standard Oil of New Jersey), 1999 (merger of Exxon and Mobil)
As recently as 2013, ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM) was the largest company by market cap. However, environmental disasters and a long history of climate change denial led to heavy criticism of the oil company. Although ExxonMobil is still a leader in terms of revenue, its market cap has been stuck in neutral for the past decade.
16. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing
- Market cap: $424.71 billion (as of Nov. 2)
- Revenue (TTM): $69.58 billion
- Gross profit (TTM): $38.89 billion
- Five-year annualized return: 18.45%
- Year founded: 1987
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (NYSE:TSM), also known as TSMC, is a leader in semiconductor manufacturing and is Taiwan's most valuable company. As such, it works with many of the leading global technology companies, including Apple and Nvidia. It could also stand to benefit from the growth of AI. It's the largest contract chip manufacturer in the world, and the growing demand for AI chips should mean even more sales for TSMC.
17. JPMorgan Chase
- Market cap: $08.85 billion (as of Nov. 2)
- Revenue (TTM): $142.43 billion
- Gross profit (TTM): $122.31 billion
- Five-year annualized return: 5.46%
- Year founded: 1799 (Bank of the Manhattan Company), 2000 (merger of JPMorgan and Chase)
While there are several big banks in the U.S., JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) is the biggest. It managed $3.67 trillion in total assets as of the end of 2022, more than any other U.S. bank and the fifth-highest in the world.
- Market cap: $372.74 billion
- Revenue (TTM): $84.69 billion
- Gross profit (TTM): $54.20 billion
- Five-year annualized return: 28.93%
- Year founded: 1987
LVMH (OTC:LVMHF), a holding company headquartered in Paris, focuses on luxury goods across several industries, including wine and spirits, fashion, and jewelry. It owns many high-end brands, with some big names being Tiffany, Dior, Moët & Chandon, and Bulgari
19. Johnson & Johnson
- Market cap: $361.67 billion (as of Nov. 2)
- Revenue (TTM): $98.66 billion
- Gross profit (TTM): $63.95 billion
- Five-year annualized return: 1.32%
- Year founded: 1886
Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) is the healthcare company behind many of the medical and pharmaceutical products people use on a regular basis. Some of its household names include Tylenol, Band-Aid, Neutrogena, and Johnson's Baby. It also developed a COVID-19 vaccine. In November 2021, Johnson & Johnson announced that it would split into two publicly traded companies, one for consumer products and the other for medical technology and pharmaceuticals.
- Market cap: $358.88 billion (as of Nov. 2)
- Revenue (TTM): $24.37 billion
- Gross profit (TTM): $22.24 billion
- Five-year annualized return: 12.15%
- Year founded: 1966
Mastercard (NYSE:MA) has long been Visa's closest competitor among payment networks. In 2022, it processed 150 billion transactions, for a gross dollar volume of $8.2 trillion.
Takeaways for investors
Large-cap stocks like these are an important part of every investor's portfolio. They generally provide more safety and stability than smaller stocks since most of them are established companies with strong brands.
They can be highly profitable as well; 14 of the stocks on this list outperformed the S&P 500 over the past five years. Tech companies, in particular, can often be profitable investments. They make up four of the top five -- and seven of the top 10 -- largest companies by market cap.
Yet even with the biggest companies in the world, no investment is a sure thing. A diversified portfolio is still a must so that you're not overly reliant on any single company or market sector.
- JPMorgan Chase & Co. (2023). "Earnings Release Financial Supplement Fourth Quarter 2022."
- Meta (2023). "Q4 2022 Earnings."
- Statcounter GlobalStats (2023). "Desktop Operating System Market Share Worldwide."
- Techjury (2023). "15 Amazon Prime Statistics to Show How Big It Is In 2023."
- Visa (2023). "Year-end financial highlights Fiscal Year 2022 Key Statistics."