On August 2nd of this year, the market value of Apple (AAPL) exceeded the one trillion-dollar mark. For those of you who are numerically challenged, that figure is $1,000,000,000,000.00. The market value is the number of outstanding shares multiplied by the market price per share.
The race to be the first company to reach the one trillion-dollar mark was relatively close with Amazon (AMZN), Alphabet (GOOG) and Microsoft (MSFT) all appearing to have a chance to be the first.
Of course, there is nothing magical about a company’s market value hitting a certain level, but we do tend to “win” if we are the first company to hit some large round number.
Microsoft was the first company to have a market value of $500 billion and that occurred in 1999. Its share price dropped shortly after that milestone and it did not reach that market value again until 2014 which was fifteen years later.
IBM was the first company to see its market value exceed $100 billion in 1987. Interestingly enough, the three companies closest to IBM at that time in market value were Exxon (XOM), General Electric (GE), and General Motors (GM).
If we go back fifty years, to the end of 1967, we see the ten companies with the highest market values:
- Eastman Kodak
- General Motors
- Sears, Roebuck
- General Electric
- Gulf Oil
Obviously, fifty years is a relatively long period of time. Several of these companies did not survive the five decades and if they did survive it was in a much different form.
If we go back further, the first company to have a market value of $10 billion was GM and they hit that level in 1955.
Going back even further, U.S. Steel (X) is generally considered the first publicly traded company to achieve a market valuation of $1 billion and that was in 1901. (The inflation calculator at westegg.com/inflation indicates that $1 billion in 1901 is the equivalent of about $30 billion in 2018.)
Looking over the names of these large companies, it is easy to see the changing corporate landscape. I often wonder what industries will contain the largest market value companies in ten, twenty or fifty years??
(NOTE: This is not an article encouraging you to purchase or sell shares of any company we mention, we are just having a little fun. Information for this article came from MarketWatch, Visual Capitalist and WINTON Global Investment Management.)