Apple (AAPL) smashed earnings forecasts late yesterday, and as a result shares are trading at the highest point ever, currently around $ 387 per share. With less than a billion shares out there this translates into a market capitalization of about $ 357 billion.
The currently most valuable publicly traded company, ExxonMobil (XOM), today trades at around $ 83 and its market capitalization is just under $ 415 billion.
I have said many times that if Apple passes ExxonMobil, it will be a hugely symbolic moment, not just for the markets but for our politics.
The Republicans have long been the party of corporate America–with major stalwarts like the oil majors on their side, an industry centered in very conservative Texas. However, that’s not so true any more: What pro-industry or pro-market party would play chicken with the financial markets, as Republicans have done with the debt ceiling?
And indeed, major companies are shifting to the Democratic camp: Witness clean energy giant GE, for instance, or the fairly blue and liberal California-centered tech industry–epitomized by Apple.
Barring a major downward move in oil prices, or continuing total dominance of the world by Apple, we still aren’t that close to its surpassing of Exxon in value. But we’re closer. Will it happen some day? I suspect so….