Microsoft And Apple Running Neck And Neck In Market Value Race

Less than four months after Apple made history as the first U.S. company to reach $1 trillion in stock market value, Microsoft has now pulled into a virtual tie with it in the rankings of America’s top public companies.

Microsoft, which for many years (primarily the 1990s) was the ultimate go-go tech stock, has rebounded in recent years to post gains thanks to upbeat views of its cloud computing business. The software maker’s shares have gained more than 3% today, to $110.66, which imputes a market value just shy of $850 billion. In 2018 to date, the stock is up almost 30%.

Apple, meanwhile, has been in retreat along with other major tech stocks in recent months amid underwhelming iPhone sales and concerns about the company’s supply chain. The company’s stock price is also up 3% today amid a broader market rally, reaching $179.21, good for a market value of about $853 billion.

Amazon also reached the vaunted $1 trillion mark about a month after Apple, but its value is now around $813 billion.

The last time Microsoft and Apple were at an equal level was in May 2010, when both companies had market capitalizations in the range of $225 billion.

Major tech stocks, including Amazon, Facebook and Netflix began 2018 as key leaders of the broader market but in recent months most have become laggards. Anxiety about trade, regulation and a general sense of an overheated market has hit shares hard, with major indices surrendering all of their yearly gains earlier this month.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 have all roared back today. Each is up about 2% for the day heading into the final hour of trading. The Dow’s gains of more than 500 points were spurred by comments by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, who has faced criticism from President Donald Trump over interest rate hikes.

“Interest rates are still low by historical standards,” Powell said in a speech at the Economic Club of New York today. “They remain just below the broad range of estimates of the level that would be neutral for the economy — that is, neither speeding up nor slowing down growth.”

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