Apple is nearing a $3 trillion market valuation and may become the first company to achieve such a feat, less than three and a half years after it exceeded the $1tn cap.
The Cupertino, California-based company’s stock ended trading on Wednesday at $175.08, giving it a market value of about $2.87tn. That places it ahead of Microsoft, which overtook Apple in October to become the world's most valuable company that month. Microsoft's market value was $2.51tn at the end of trading on Wednesday.
Apple hit the $1tn market cap in August 2018 and reached the $2tn mark in August last year. The company’s shares jumped on Tuesday after Morgan Stanley’s Katy Huberty raised the price target to $200 from $164, according to a research note sent to investors.
“Today, we know that Apple is working on products to address two significantly large markets — AR/VR [augmented reality/virtual reality] and autonomous vehicles — and as we get closer to these products becoming a reality, we believe valuation would need to reflect the optionality of these future opportunities,” Ms Huberty said.
Apple secretly began the development of automated and electric vehicles, known as Project Titan, in 2014. The company has yet to publicly discuss any of its car goals, but about 5,000 engineers and scientists were reported to be working on the project as of 2018.
Ms Huberty increased her December quarter iPhone shipment forecast by 3 million to about 83 million units, an annual increase of almost 4 per cent.
“[Hitting $3tn] is a phenomenal achievement and highlights the incredible dominance of US tech firms,” Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at Oanda, told Bloomberg.
“And there’s so much still to come from Apple, which makes you wonder what milestone they will pass next and how big they can become,” Mr Erlam said.
In October, Apple reported a 62.2 per cent annual jump in its fiscal year fourth-quarter net profit to almost $20.6 billion.
Revenue rose 29 per cent year-on-year to $83.4bn during the quarter that ended on September 25.
Despite the global chip shortage, Apple launched a series of products in September and October, unveiling its latest MacBook Pro laptops powered by the company’s in-house M1 Pro and M1 Max chips, new AirPods, the latest iPhone 13 series, Apple Watch 7 and new iPads as it looks to diversify its product range and attract more professional users.