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Apple tops Exxon in market cap...briefly

KING OF THE HEAP: There’s Apple, and then there’s everybody else…except for Exxon Mobil. For several hours yesterday, Steve Jobs’ empire was on top of Exxon as the most valuable company in the U.S., but by the close of trading, the oil company was back in the lead, although less than $2 billion ahead of the tech giant. Apple shares closed at $374.01, up 5.89%, for a market cap of $346.74 billion. Exxon closed at $71.64, up 2.07%, with a market cap of only $1.58 billion more, $348.32 billion. At one point during the surreally volatile day of trading, Apple had a $7 billion lead. The change in market valuation has more to do with the falling price of oil than with the popularity of the iPhone and iPad. “For Apple to continue its success, they will need to leap ahead of their own innovation and design approach before their competitors, including Google and Amazon, close the gap on smartphones and tablets,” Forrester Research analyst Charles Golvin told the N.Y. Times. Apple peaked at $403.41 a share on July 26, while Exxon hit a 52-week high of $87.98 on April 29. Nobody else comes close to those two behemoths. (8/10a)

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