Apple’s fall in 2024 puts its title as the most valuable stock at risk

Apple Inc. has had its weakest start to the year since 2019jeopardizing its long reign as the world’s most valuable stock by market value.

The company, based in Cupertino, California, has been the most valuable publicly traded company since July 2022, but the stock has fallen sharply this year after the tech giant was hit by two rating downgrades that pointed to a weak macroeconomic environment in China hurting demand for iPhones. That has narrowed its lead over fellow tech giant Microsoft Corp. — whose shares have fallen less sharply at the start of the year — to less than $100 billion.

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Apple shares fluctuated between gains and losses in Friday’s trading session. If the stock ends the day higher, it will snap a four-day losing streak. However, The company’s market value has fallen by US$164 billion so far this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. While the stock has suffered larger percentage declines in the first week of January than in other years, these losses are the largest destruction of market value ever recorded at the beginning of any year.

Apple is also likely to be under pressure as investors rotate their portfolios early in the year.

“Everyone sells their winning stocks and buys the losing ones.”said Brian Mulberry, client portfolio manager at Zacks Investment Management. “There is a big rebalancing going on.”

Market value drop

The losses have reduced Apple’s market value to around $2.84 trillion, bringing it closer to Microsoft’s US$2.76 billion. The latter’s shares rose as much as 1% on Friday.

The Windows software maker has benefited from the artificial intelligence business that has hypnotized Wall Street over the past year. Microsoft is the largest shareholder in OpenAI and has invested around US$13 billion in the ChatGPT matrix.

Translated by Bárbara Briceño.

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