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Apple passes Exxon as the most valuable US company

Last year Apple passed Microsoft to become the world's most valuable technology company.

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(Antler)

Apple surpassed Exxon Mobil as the most valuable company in the U.S. Tuesday afternoon before settling slightly lower.

But the two are now so close that Apple will likely surpass Exxon soon, the Associated Press reported today.

Apple stock gained 5.9 percent to $374.01 on Tuesday, bringing the iPhone and iPad inventors's market capitalization to about $347 billion at market close.

Exxon Mobil shares closed up 2.1 percent at 71.64. That gives the oil company a market cap of $348 billion as of the market's close.

See GlobalPost: With $76 billion in reserve, Apple now has more cash than the U.S. government

Apple surpassed Microsoft to become world's most valued technology company last year, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Apple's growth has been astronomical. Since the iPod was introduced in 2001, shares of the company have shot up nearly 4,000 percent. Since the iPhone was launched in 2007, shares have tripled. Exxon's shares, by contrast, have shrunk more than 7 percent amid a recent slide in oil prices, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The technology company has remained strong even amid concerns about founder Steve Jobs's health. The executive is a cancer survivor and currently on medical leave, but still appears in public at corporate events.

Apple is expected to report that sales growth of more than two-thirds in its current fiscal year, which ends in September. The company's profits are also expected to rise more than 82 percent, according to a recent survey by Thomson Reuters. The company has saved large chunks of its profit and boasts a cash hold of more than $76 billion.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/110809/apple-passes-exxon-the-most-valuable-us-company