Tuesday started out and ended the same for ExxonMobil as any other day. Every day for the past five years, it has served as the United States' most valuable company.
However, for a good chunk of the afternoon, it was not Exxon, but Apple that claimed the top spot. When the markets called it a day, the iPhone and iPad creator's stock value was once again a close second to that of the oil colossus.
Apple's shares went up as much as 5.9 percent to $374.01 on Tuesday. As such, the computer company was valued and ended the day at $347 billion. Exxon closed barely ahead at $348 billion.
The two industries are essentially neck and neck and it is almost inevitable that Apple will finish a day on top and soon. According to the Kansas City Star
, "as one analyst put it, people need oil, but they want the gadgets that Apple makes."
Apple has been expanding its horizons lately as CEO Steve Jobs has been pushing into new markets including cell phones and tablets. As such, the company's value has risen exponentially in recent years. The technology giant surpassed Nokia Oyj in smartphone shipments last quarter. It was the first time Apple has managed such a feat and is now the leader in that market. The iPhone, which was released in 2007 is now the company's best-selling product.
While Exxon set a record back in 2008 for highest quarterly earnings by a company, its growth prospects are limited and are being driven by oil prices and discovering alternative oil sources. Even though the company is growing it is not doing so as rapidly as Apple. It has the energy and stamina of a start-up company despite the fact it has been around for 35 years.