AI-powered Apple overtakes Microsoft as world's most valuable company


FILE PHOTO: Apple CEO Tim Cook attends the annual developer conference event at the company's headquarters in Cupertino, California, U.S., June 10, 2024. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo

(Reuters) - Apple once again became the world's most valuable company on Wednesday, dethroning Microsoft from the top spot, as the iPhone maker pushed ahead in a race to dominate artificial intelligence technology.

Its shares jumped nearly 4% to a record $215.04, giving it a market valuation of $3.29 trillion. Microsoft's market capitalization stood at $3.24 trillion, falling behind Apple for the first time in five months.

The stock surge comes as the tech-heavy Nasdaq hit a record high on fresh signs of cooling inflation. [.N]

Apple shares had added more than 7% in the previous session, a day after it unveiled a range of AI-enabled features and software enhancements for its devices, a move that several analysts said would power iPhone sales.

At Apple's annual developer conference on Monday, executives, including CEO Tim Cook, touted how voice assistant Siri would be able to interact with messages, emails, calendar as well as third-party apps.

"All those questions about Apple lagging from an AI technology standpoint were answered at the Worldwide Developers Conference," said Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles.

"Some of the specifics about AI capabilities that are going to be integrated into the upcoming iPhones made it very apparent that there will clearly be demand for a significant upgrade cycle."

The tech giant has trailed rivals such as Microsoft and Google-owner Alphabet in the red-hot field of AI, a reason why its shares underperformed this year compared to its peers.

Some of the concerns over its weak share performance, however, eased after Apple beat market expectations for quarterly results and forecast in May, and unveiled a record $110 billion buyback plan.

Apple's shares have risen about 12% so far in 2024, while Microsoft has added about 16% and Alphabet nearly 28%.

AI chip leader Nvidia, which briefly overtook Apple's market value last week, is up a whopping 154% this year. Nvidia last had a market value of $3.11 trillion.

Tesla is the only other 'Magnificent Seven' stock that has fared worse than Apple this year, with an about 30% slide.

(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar and Shashwat Chauhan in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

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