Alphabet is within arm’s reach of overtaking Apple as the world’s most valuable company

The competition.
The competition.
Image: AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez
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Apple has been considered the world’s most valuable company since 2013 when it surpassed Exxon Mobil in market capitalization, but that status is now threatened by Alphabet, Google’s new parent company.

With a market cap of $542.5 billion, Apple still has a $47 billion lead over its rival. But with earnings on the horizon—Apple is set to report its results on Jan. 26 and Alphabet on Feb. 1—it’s possible a new company might end up at the top.

That scenario would likely depend on an earnings miss from Apple and better-than-expected results from Alphabet. How likely is that? Not very: Consider the fact that Apple’s holiday quarter in 2014 was its biggest quarter ever. Analysts also rate the stock as a buy, expecting, on average, for it to hit a $140 target price, according to FactSet. Apple’s stock closed at $96.83 on Jan. 19.

That said, there has been trepidation over Apple’s outlook, as investors worry over news of the company slashing orders of its iPhone.

Meanwhile, analysts are plenty bullish on Google’s stock performance, expecting it to hit an average of $855. It closed at $718.56 on Jan. 19.

While gaining $50 billion in value is no small feat, recall that Google had one of the best days in Wall Street history this past July—adding $60 billion to its market cap in a single day—on the heels of a bright earnings report that beat analysts’ expectations. If Alphabet pulls through with another quarter of gangbusters earnings, there very well might be a new name atop the list of the world’s most valuable companies.