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Apple is no longer the world’s biggest public company, by one measure at least. Without any fanfare, it was surpassed last month by Alphabet, formerly known as Google. Measured by market capitalisation, Apple remains bigger, at $535bn compared with the search giant’s $485bn. But looking at enterprise value, which includes debt and subtracts cash to give a more complete picture of a company’s worth, Alphabet overtook Apple in December and is now worth $420bn compared with the electronics company’s $393bn.
It is only the latest sign of relative decline. Last year a handful of US tech stocks — branded with the acronym “Fang”— propped up the S&P 500 with their outperformance. Some of them doubled, but the A stood for Amazon, not for Apple, which ended the year down 4 per cent. That understates the fall from grace. From its high in 2015 to now, Apple has shed more than $200bn in equity value.
Written by: Tom Braithwaite
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