The Pursuit of $1 Trillion: Amazon Closes In on Apple

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The race to $1 trillion market value has gotten a lot closer.

Amazon’s stock hit a high of $1,858.88 on Wednesday after the e-commerce giant announced more than 100 million products were purchased during its Prime Day sale event. The brief rise pushed Amazon’s stock market value to $902 billion — the first time that it has exceeded $900 billion.

Amazon’s market value finished Wednesday at $894 billion, nearly $42 billion below Apple’s market capitalization of $936 billion. That marked the narrowest gap between the market values of the two companies since 2006.

Investors, traders and Wall Street analysts have speculated for years about which company would be first to surpass $1 trillion in market value. Apple has been the favorite since it became the largest publicly traded company in the United States in 2011. Google has also garnered a few mentions. Earlier this year, its market capitalization crossed $800 billion for the first time and was just $34 billion shy of Apple’s.

But Amazon has now passed Google on the list of largest publicly traded companies in the United States. Amazon’s move above $900 billion highlights the run-up in its shares over the past nine months. On Oct. 26, 2017, its market capitalization stood at $467 billion, meaning its value has nearly doubled over that period. To put that in perspective, Amazon’s gain in market capitalization is larger than the value of JPMorgan Chase, Exxon Mobil, or Walmart. In fact, Amazon’s increase would rank it the seventh largest company in the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index.

By comparison, Apple has stagnated over that period. The company’s market capitalization first nudged past $900 billion at the start of November 2017, but since then, it has risen just 3.4 percent through Wednesday’s close.

Amazon’s time in the $900 billion club has been brief so far. Its stock slipped Wednesday and is down slightly again Thursday, pushing its market value to $876 billion.

Apple gained 1 percent in early trading Thursday, pushing its market value to $950 billion. That puts Apple more comfortably in the lead. Still, any disappointments or surprises from either could yet unsettle the race.

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