It is worth a review of how rare companies with $1 trillion market capitalizations are. Each of the American public corporations on the list has released third-quarter earnings which were a mixed bag based on investor views. And, China’s Art Group just had an IPO which raised $34 billion and valued the company at over $300 billion. Even though it was the largest IPO in history, it put Ant’s value at less than a third of the four leaders.
1. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) has a market cap of $1.86 trillion. It broke the $2 trillion barrier, but earnings moved it lower. Despite efforts to diversify, its fortunes continue to rise and fall based on sales of the iPhone, now over a decade old, and in its eighth generation. Apple posted record earnings for the third quarter, which had revenue barely higher than last year. Revenue for the most recent period was $65 billion, up from $64 billion a year ago. EPS weighed in at $.73 compared to the earlier figure of $.76. Apple has come to rely more and more on its “services” business, the revenue of which reached a record. However, iPhone sales slipped. Investors are left to guess how much the current quarter will be positively improved by its new iPhone 12 flagship. The stock is up 79% in the last year.
2. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) has a market cap of $1.53 trillion. Its most recent earnings were a reminder of the size, scope, and growth of the global cloud computing market. Its cloud computing revenue rose 20% in the last quarter to $13 billion compared with the same quarter a year earlier. On a broader basis, total revenue rose 12% to $37.2 billion. EPS rose 30% to 1.82. There was some disappointment that Office Commercial products revenue was up only 9%. On the other hand, the core of its cloud business–Azure–posted a revenue increase of 48%. Microsoft shares are up 40% in the last year.
3. Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) with a market cap of $1.52 trillion posted walk-off home run numbers. The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed retail sales online across much of the globe. That showed up in Amazon’s numbers. Revenue rose 37% to $96.1 billion. EPS soared from $4.23 in the same period a year ago to $12.37. Revenue for Amazon’s flagship North American e-commerce unit rose from $42.7 billion in the period last year to $59.4 billion. Operating income rose to $2.3 billion from $1.3 billion. Amazon is the largest cloud computing company in the world. Amazon Web Services revenue reached $11.6 billion, up from $9 billion. Operating income for the division rose to $3.5 billion from $2.3 billion. Amazon’s shares are up 71% in the last year.
4. Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL), with a market cap of $1.1 trillion, the parent of Google and YouTube, had an unexpectedly strong quarter. Revenue reached $46.2 billion in the most recent quarter, up from $40.5 billion in the same quarter a year ago. EPS reached $16.40, up from $10.12. There had been anxiety that the pandemic would dent ad demand or the rates Google could charge of adverting. That turned out not to be true. And, YouTube showed the strength of online video ads, with revenue that rose to $5 billion from $3.8 billion. Alphabet shares are up 28% in the last year.
As for the future of the market caps of the four companies, unexpected events may affect them more than their core businesses. The pandemic has started to surge in force again and could worsen over the winter. Perhaps a larger danger to each is that governments, both in the U.S. and Europe, have looked upon the companies as monopolies. Each of the $1 trillion-plus club members faces a future in which its business operations could be curtailed.
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