Sell-Off Costs Apple 'World's Most Valuable' Mantle
The market giveth, and the market taketh away.
The woes dogging technology giant Apple sent its stock hurtling to its lowest levels in a year on Friday, while suffering the added misfortune of losing its mantle as "world's most valuable company" to Exxon Mobil.
The company, which disappointed Wall Street with its earnings release this week, is being buffeted by doubts about its ability to compete with challenger Samsung. The reversal of fortune has been both quick and dramatic, with some surveys now showing Samsung's Galaxy smartphone now edging out the iPhone in market share.
(Read More: Apple's Revenue Falls Short, Shares Dive)
That pessimism has shaved more than $247 billion from the iPhone maker's market capitalization — forcing it to sacrifice its title to Exxon, which it first surpassed back in 2011. In Friday's dealings, the two giants of their respective industries were tussling for the coveted top spot.
Exxon's market capitalization now stands around $417.1 billion, while Apple slipped to $412.3 billion. A rally in the broader market made Apple's woes even more pronounced, with both the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average flirting with new highs. (Read more: Dow Nears Record, but Is It Just Another Bubble?)
Only two other components of the S&P 500 have ever had a total market value greater than the amount Apple has lost since late 2012: Exxon itself, and search giant Google. With that amount, Apple could easily have purchased the equivalent of one General Electric, two Cisco's, three Goldman Sachs ... or 132 Big Lots.
In midday trading on the Nasdaq, Apple hunkered near new 52-week lows around $438.72, shedding more than 2.5 percent on the day and far below its record high at $705.07. Exxon Mobil traded near $91.50.
(Read More: Two Key Reasons Why Apple is Getting Crushed.)