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The four largest tech companies are now worth more than $4 trillion

AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews
This many trillions.
  • Jason Karaian
By Jason Karaian

Global finance and economics editor


Last year, it was a big deal when Apple became the first listed company to reach a $1 trillion valuation. It only a lasted a few months, and the iPhone maker dropped out of the exclusive club in the broad market decline at the end of the year.

In the last few months of this year, a rally as significant as the selloff in 2018 pushed Apple’s market capitalization comfortably back above the trillion mark. Long-time rival Microsoft got there first, in fact, and both now sit at around $1.3 trillion in valuation. Together, they added a whopping $970 billion (or so) to their market caps this year, accounting for 15% of the bumper gain in the S&P 500 index.

Amazon and Alphabet were no slouches, either, adding well over $100 billion to their market values this year. Amazon, now worth around $915 billion, is on pace to join the trillion-dollar club soon, assuming its good fortunes continue. And speaking of fortunes, these four tech giants are now worth a combined $4 trillion; up from a mere $700 billion at the start of the decade.

Including dividends, the S&P 500 gained just over 30% this year, according to preliminary data from S&P Dow Jones Indices. The roaring performance by technology firms, by far the largest component of the benchmark stock index, accounted for about a third of this year’s gain. Over the past 30 years, the S&P 500 has returned around 10% per year, on average, making 2019 a standout performer (paywall) going into the final trading day of the year.

Can it continue? For the tech giants, at least, analysts remain relatively bullish: they expect Apple to lose its shine somewhat, but think Microsoft, Alphabet, and (especially) Amazon will keep growing.

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