Apple passes Exxon as most valuable US firm

Thursday 26 January 2012 09.30
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Apple now most valuable US company on Wall Street
Apple now most valuable US company on Wall Street
Apple sold 37 million iPhones in latest quarter
Apple sold 37 million iPhones in latest quarter
iPad sales beat expectations
iPad sales beat expectations
First fiscal quarter since death of iconic founder Steve Jobs
First fiscal quarter since death of iconic founder Steve Jobs

Apple has again surpassed Exxon as the most valuable US company after reporting impressive quarterly results.

Apple shares are up nearly 7% to $448.79 on Wall Street this evening, bringing the iPhone and iPad maker's market capitalisation to about $418.5 billion.

Meanwhile, Exxon Mobil shares are down 1% $86.23. That gives the oil company a market cap of about $413 billion.

California-based Apple first topped Exxon as the most valuable company in August, then fell back to second place. The Texas-based oil and gas giant had held the top spot since 2005. Apple overtook Microsoft, now in the number three slot with a market cap of $246.5 billion, in 2010.

Apple's latest quarterly results soared past expectations as US consumers snapped up near-record numbers of iPhones and iPads.

The world's most valuable technology company sold just over 37 million iPhones - its flagship product - in the three months to the end of December.

It also sold 15.43 million iPad tablet computers, doubling from a year earlier and easily outpacing already heightened expectations for a strong holiday season.

Apple's sales in the US were particularly strong, with revenue rising 90% in the Americas region. Sales in Europe were up 55%, despite the effect of the debt crisis on consumer confidence.

The consumer electronics giant said its revenue leapt 73% from a year earlier to $46.33 billion, handily beating the average Wall Street analyst estimate of $38.91 billion.

Apple reported a record net profit of $13.06 billion, or $13.87 a share. Analysts had expected Apple to earn $10.16 per share in the period, its first financial quarter.

Apple also forecast results for its second quarter that were ahead of analyst estimates. It expects revenue of about $32.5 billion and underlying earnings per share of about $8.50.

The December quarterly report marked Apple's first quarter without its legendary co-founder Steve Jobs, who died on October 5.