Scoot over Microsoft: Apple again the most valuable US company

Stock numbers for Apple are displayed on a screen at the Nasdaq MarketSite in Times Square on January 29, 2019 in New York City. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images/AFP)
Updated 07 February 2019
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Scoot over Microsoft: Apple again the most valuable US company

  • Apple’s market capitalization was overtaken in December by Amazon and Microsoft
  • While Apple has gained in recent sessions, Microsoft and Amazon’s shares fell after their quarterly reports

SAN FRANCISCO, US: Apple won back its crown as the most valuable publicly listed US company on Wednesday, ending the session with a market capitalization above recent leaders Microsoft and Amazon.com.
Apple edged up 0.03 percent, putting its market value at $821.5 billion. Microsoft’s market capitalization ended at $813.4 billion after its stock dipped 1.11 percent, while Amazon’s stock market value finished the day at $805.7 billion, in third place, after its shares slid 1.12 percent.
Apple’s stock has risen about 13 percent since its quarterly earnings report on Jan. 29, with investors betting it was oversold following months of concern about a slowdown in iPhone demand and the company’s rare revenue warning on Jan. 2 related to soft demand in China.
But slowing iPhone sales have led to lower expectations for Apple’s stock. The average analyst price target for Apple has fallen from $240 three months ago to $175, less than a dollar more than its current stock price of $174.24.
After touching a record $1.1 trillion last October, Apple’s market capitalization fell gradually, and it was overtaken in December by Amazon and Microsoft, which have taken turns in the top position since then.
Apple’s stock market value hit a low of $675 billion on Jan. 3 after its revenue warning, but then steadily recovered, helped in part by a quarterly report that was better than feared by investors.
While Apple has gained in recent sessions, Microsoft and Amazon’s shares fell after their quarterly reports. Amazon has declined almost 5 percent since Thursday, when it forecast first-quarter sales below Wall Street estimates and said it would step up investments in 2019.
“That has raised some eyebrows, it’s a perception that Amazon may be settling into a more mature phase in terms of growth,” said Dan Morgan, a senior portfolio manager at Synovus Trust in Atlanta.
Morgan owns shares in Apple, Amazon and Microsoft, but he said that if forced to choose, he would favor Amazon because of its lead in cloud-computing market share.
Microsoft’s stock is about flat from last Wednesday, when the software maker met targets for its quarterly results and forecast.

 


Google puts up $1B to ease housing headaches it helped cause

In this May 1, 2019, file photo, a woman walks past a Google sign in San Francisco. Google is making a $1 billion commitment to address the soaring price of housing in the San Francisco Bay Area, a problem that the internet company and its Silicon Valley peers helped create as the technology industry hired tens of thousands of high-paid workers. (AP)
Updated 19 June 2019
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Google puts up $1B to ease housing headaches it helped cause

  • A report by Working Partnerships called upon Google to build more than 17,000 homes in the area to help offset the anticipated price increases caused by the new campus

SAN FRANCISCO: Google is pouring $1 billion into easing the high-priced housing headaches that it and its Silicon Valley peers helped give the San Francisco Bay Area.
The pledge announced Tuesday by Google CEO Sundar Pichai consists of a $250 million investment fund and $750 million of company-owned land. It will be used to build at least 15,000 homes that will include low- and mid-income housing.
Google’s commitment eclipsed a recent $500 million pledge made by Microsoft to combat housing shortages in the Seattle area and a $500 million housing fund created by a consortium including Facebook.
Google is extending a helping hand as it draws up plans to expand into sprawling offices beyond its headquarters in Mountain View, California. That suburban city of roughly 80,000 people has been swamped with affluent tech workers since Google moved there shortly after its 1998 inception.
Since then, Google’s payroll has swelled from a few dozen workers to the more than 103,000 people now working for it and its corporate parent, Alphabet Inc. Nearly half of those workers are based in the Bay Area.
While Google has been expanding, so have a wide variety of other technology companies, including Apple, Facebook, Oracle, Salesforce and Netflix — all of whom also lavish their workers with six-figure salaries and stock options that can yield multimillion-dollar windfalls.
The high incomes have resulted in bidding wars for the limited supply of homes in the Bay Area that can only be afforded by the affluent, a group increasingly dominated by tech workers, while people employed in other lines of work struggle to make ends meet on more modest incomes.
That is making it impossible for people on the lower end of the economic spectrum to buy a home in the Bay Area, where a mid-priced house sold for $990,000 in April, according to the California Association of Realtors, a trade group. In 1999, a mid-priced home sold for $308,000.
It’s even worse in San Francisco, a city from which many tech workers ride company buses to the Silicon Valley suburbs. A mid-priced house in San Francisco sold for nearly $1.7 million in April, according to the realtors’ group, quadruple the price of 20 years ago.
Google’s next big project will be in the Bay Area’s most populous city, San Jose, where it plans to build a corporate campus consisting of offices and housing where 15,000 to 20,000 of its employees will work and live.
The project faced resistance from community activists worried about its effect on housing prices. Last week, a report by Working Partnerships called upon Google to build more than 17,000 homes in the area to help offset the anticipated price increases caused by the new campus. The report by the labor-union backed labor group envisions apartment rent increases of $235 million by 2030 if action isn’t taken.
“For several months, we have encouraged Google to make a bold commitment to address our region’s affordable housing challenge,” San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said in a statement applauding the company’s $1 billion pledge.