Apple briefly unseated as world's most valuable company by Saudi Aramco

iPhone event
iPhone event (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • Apple is no longer the world's most valuable company.
  • Shares tumbled more than 5% on Wednesday, bringing the cap to "just" $2.37 trillion.
  • Oil giant Saudi Aramco ended with a $2.43 trillion cap on Wednesday, however, its shares have fallen in Thursday's early trading.

On Wednesday, Apple was briefly unseated as the world's most valuable company as shares in the tech giant tumbled more than 5% in a single day.

Apple's crown has been under threat for some time, with Saudi Aramco (officially the Saudi Arabian Oil Company) enjoying strong growth in recent weeks. That threat came to a head at the close of trading on Wednesday, with Apple's market cap closing down at $2.37 trillion, compared to Saudi Aramco's $2.43 trillion. It's the first time Apple has fallen out of the top spot since 2020.

Year to date, Saudi Aramco's shares are up more than 25%, conversely, Apple's value has fallen by nearly 20% in the same time period, and its current share price of $146.50 is the lowest since mid-October.

The victory may well be short-lived, however. SAR's shares opened this morning and have fallen by some 3.19%, bringing the company's market cap back down below Apple to $2.36 trillion. Apple shares have not yet begun trading for the day, however, these are also down by nearly one whole percentage point in pre-market.

With that being said, Apple may well reclaim second spot on the open, depending on the early trading of its shares and the fortunes of SAR for the rest of the day.

Why are tech stocks falling?

Recent Time insight into the fall of tech stocks in recent months shows Apple is not alone in its struggling fortunes. The article cites three reasons why tech stocks are falling. Namely, a lack of earnings, rising interest rates, and concern about the direction of the economy. The former probably doesn't apply as much to Apple, given the company posted a new March quarter record earnings of $97.3 billion at the end of April.

Other factors impacting companies like Apple include supply chain disruption caused by the ongoing battle with COVID in places like China, the chip shortage, and more. Apple's decline, therefore, comes as part of a wider general sell-off in tech stocks across the board.

According to FactSet figures, Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet, Amazon, Tesla, Meta (Facebook), and Nvidia have lost a combined $3.2 trillion in market value since January.

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Supply chain insider and analyst Ming-Chi Kuo recently stated that there is no reason to be optimistic about the outlook for demand for consumer electronics in the second half of this year. Specifically, he cited the disappearance of demand from Ukraine and Russia, rising food and energy prices in Europe, China's zero-COVID policy, and a strong dollar hitting economic growth and demand in emerging markets.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9