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Apple is once again the most valuable public company in the world

Key Points
  • Apple is once again the most valuable public company.
  • Apple, Amazon and Microsoft have been in a tight race for the top spot since late last year.
  • Apple's show of strength in its services business in its latest earnings report has helped its stock price recover, while Amazon and Microsoft disappointed on their most recent reports.
Tim Cook, CEO, Apple
Brendan McDermid | Reuters

Apple has reclaimed the title of most valuable public company in the world.

The company surpassed Microsoft and Amazon Wednesday with a market capitalization of $821.59 billion. Microsoft ended the trading day with a market value of $813.48 billion and Amazon ended the day with a market value of $805.70 billion. The three companies have been in a tight race for the top spot since late last year, with Microsoft ending 2018 on top and Amazon briefly stealing the crown.

But the recent earnings season has swung the pendulum back in Apple's favor. Apple suffered a steep loss in market value in early January after warning investors to expect weak revenue for its first quarter 2019. In the three months leading up to the warning, investors already anticipated the revenue drop and Apple's market cap bled $452 billion.

Apple's warning tempered expectations so effectively that its actual earnings report was well-received. The stock soared nearly 7 percent the day after Apple's report, where it proved strong services margins even as its iPhone revenue was down 15 percent.

Amazon and Microsoft's earnings reports, on the other hand, under-delivered compared to analysts' expectations. Microsoft fell as much as 4 percent after missing on revenue and providing light guidance. Amazon initially rose on its earnings and revenue beat, but fell sharply once executives revealed on the call with analysts that the company will ramp up investments in hiring and capital expenditure this year and noted concerns around new regulation in India. The stock even fell into bear market territory on Friday, dropping below $800 billion in market value.

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