Apple has notched up another milestone by overtaking the combined market value of the entire FTSE 100 index of the UK’s biggest publicly listed companies.
The iPhone and iMac maker has had a stellar performance this year with its share price rising an astonishing 75%, and last month became the first US company to reach a $2tn (£1.48tn) market value.
As Apple’s share rally has continued, reaching an all-time record of $2.2tn on Monday, London’s blue-chip companies, from Shell to HSBC, have lost a fifth of their combined value. The most valuable company in the FTSE 100, Dove and Marmite maker Unilever, is worth £115bn, close to one 20th of the market cap of Apple. In total the FTSE 100 is valued at £1.5tn.
Businesses in tech and e-commerce, from Apple and Amazon to online retailers, have experienced a boom during the pandemic as consumers turn to digital services for entertainment and shopping while stuck at home during lockdown. The FTSE 100 is light on technology businesses and heavily populated by companies badly affected by the pandemic in sectors including property, aviation, hospitality and bricks-and-mortar retail.
Apple nudged past the value of the FTSE 100 after completing a 4-for-1 stock split on Friday, meaning more shares on the market but also making them “more accessible to a broader base of investors”, as the company put it. One share costs $130 compared with about $500 last week.
Apple, co-founded to sell personal computers by the late Steve Jobs in 1976, became the first US company to be valued at $1tn by Wall Street in 2018, 117 years after US Steel became the first to reach $1bn.
After hitting tough times in the 1990s, Apple has stayed at the vanguard of tech and media innovation, launching a string of hit products. In the next few weeks Apple is to launch the iPhone 12.
Tim Cook, who took over as chief executive when Jobs stepped down in 2011 owing to deteriorating health, has presided over an almost ninefold increase in Apple’s share price. Last month, the 59-year-old Apple executive became a billionaire.
Apple’s push into wearable products, such as the Apple Watch and AirPod wireless headphones, and services, including Apple Music, has paid off, making more than $13bn in the last quarter alone. An estimated 550 million consumers pay regularly for an Apple service, while more than 1 billion own an iPhone or iPad.
Apple is embroiled in a legal action with Epic Games, the maker of the hugely popular Fortnite game, after it was removed from their app stores for violating Apple’s strict payment guidelines.