Saudi Aramco overtakes Apple as the world’s most valuable company

Saudi Aramco has overtaken Apple as the world’s most valuable company after rising oil prices pushed shares of the world’s biggest crude exporter to record highs, while a broader sell-off in tech stocks weighs on the iPhone maker.

On Wednesday, the Saudi oil company’s market capitalization was $2.426 billion, surpassing Apple’s $2.415 billion by just over $10 billion.

It’s the first time Saudi Aramco has regained the top spot since 2020 and follows a sell-off in tech stocks since the start of the year.

Apple became the first company to reach a market capitalization of $3 billion in early January, though its shares have suffered in recent months as investors reassess the tech sector’s lofty valuations in light of a reversal in monetary policy. and fear that inflation will weaken consumer spending. habits.

It has held up better than some big tech companies, having fallen 19% since its peak in January. Apple stock fell 4.6% to $147.35 on Wednesday afternoon in New York, taking its year-to-date decline to 17.1% and putting the stock price at an all time high. low since November.

While Apple recently posted its third-best quarter in terms of revenue, chief executive Tim Cook said supply shortages and lockdowns in China are expected to cost the company up to $8 billion this quarter.

Some analysts question the wisdom of comparing the companies, given that Apple is a public company founded in a California garage in 1976, while Saudi Aramco is a state-backed giant with only a small amount of money. free-floating shares.

Saudi Aramco raised a record $25.6 billion in 2019 when the state – which still owns 94% of the company – listed 1.5% of its shares in what was then the biggest initial public offering ever made in the world. In February, the government transferred an additional 4% of its shares to the Saudi sovereign wealth fund.

Shares of Saudi Aramco, which is listed in Riyadh, have risen 27% since the start of the year to trade at a record 46 riyals ($12.26).

Oil prices, which hit a 14-year high of $139 a barrel in March after Russia invaded Ukraine, helped some of the world’s biggest oil and gas companies post record profits in during the first three months of the year.

Saudi Aramco is also expected to report bumper earnings when it releases its first-quarter results on Sunday. The company’s net profit more than doubled in 2021 to $110 billion as the upturn in economic activity following the easing of global coronavirus restrictions revived demand for hydrocarbons.

Additional reporting by Peter Wells in New York

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