Apple becomes first public company to be worth $1 trillion

Apple’s market valuation surged past the $1 trillion point on Thursday, the first time in history a company has reached that level.

Shares surged 2.5 per cent in the afternoon but then fell back, taking the valuation back to $988bn. The share price closed at $207.39 meaning that the company finished the day’s trading worth more than $1tn. Apple’s shares are up 23 per cent so far this year.

Markets have been waiting for the tech giant to break the trillion barrier in recent weeks, with anticipation increasing earlier this week when the company’s stock rose 3.3 per cent after its latest results were announced.

The firm beat sales estimates despite iPhone sales dwindling, as it sold more expensive models during the third quarter to make up the difference.

Earlier on Thursday afternoon, Apple’s Stocks app mistakenly labelled its creator as the world’s first trillion-dollar company. It falsely claimed to have already broken past $1 trillion, because of a technical fault with the app built into the iPhone.

The glitch occurred because Apple announced a substantial share buyback programme after reporting its third quarter figures, which meant that the total number of shares in issue went down, increasing the value the share price had to reach before it pushed the company over $1 trillion.

However, the update was not added to the Stocks app. That meant that a small surge in Apple’s shares showed the company as being worth $1 trillion when it was not.

When asked, Siri informed iPhone users that the company had passed the trillion dollar mark — though the error was fixed later in the day.

The achievement seemed unimaginable in September 1997 when Apple teetered on the edge of bankruptcy and founder Steve Jobs rejoined the company, having been driven out in the mid-1980s. If someone had dared to buy $10,000 worth of Apple stock at that point of desperation, the investment would now be worth about $2.6 million. 

The Silicon Valley stalwart’s stock has surged more than 50,000 per cent since its 1980 initial public offering, dwarfing the S&P 500’s approximately 2,000-percent increase during the same time. Apple has pushed its revenue beyond the economic outputs of Portugal, New Zealand and other countries. 

In becoming the first company to ever reach a market valuation of $1tn, Apple joins an exclusive list of companies that have made history in market valuations in the past.

That group includes the likes of Microsoft — which was the first to reach a market valuation of $500b — as well as IBM ($100b), General Motors ($10b), and US Steel ($1b).

Several other companies are close behind Apple in market valuation, and could very well become trillion dollar companies in the future.

That list of companies includes Microsoft itself, as well as Amazon, and the parent company of Google, Alphabet.

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