Apple Tops PetroChina to Become No. 2 in World: Chart of Day

Apple Inc., approaching bankruptcy before the return of Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs in 1997, has become the world’s second-most-valuable company, lifted by investor optimism for sales of the iPhone, iPad and Macintosh.

The CHART OF THE DAY shows the rise in Apple’s market value, which today surpassed PetroChina Co. and now trails only Exxon Mobil Corp. Apple climbed $2.71 to $334 today in Nasdaq Stock Market trading, giving it a market value of $306.4 billion. PetroChina has a market value of $302.7 billion.

Apple’s share price has more than tripled since the introduction of the iPhone in 2007, when it entered a market that would become its biggest source of revenue. The iPad, which went on sale last April, also has emerged as a main product, eclipsing the iPod. A recovery in consumer spending is helping as well, setting up Apple for a record quarter when it reports financial results on Jan. 18, said Michael Yoshikami, chief investment strategist at YCMNet in Walnut Creek, California.

“Discretionary spending has bounced back and that has put wind at Apple’s back,” said Yoshikami, whose firm owns Apple shares. “In all likelihood, Apple is going to report surprisingly strong numbers.”

The December quarter is typically Apple’s biggest sales period because of holiday spending. Analysts are estimating a revenue gain of 55 percent to $24.2 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Net income climbed 47 percent to $4.97 billion, or $5.34 a share, according to the projections.

Last May, Apple overtook Microsoft Corp. as the most valuable technology company. Apple briefly surpassed PetroChina during intraday trading on Sept. 23, before dropping back.

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