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Apple Has $500 Billion Challenge Others Failed: Chart of the Day

Now that Apple Inc.’s market value has exceeded $500 billion, the biggest challenge for the maker of iPhones and iPad tablet computers may be staying there.

Apple is the sixth U.S. company that has ever crossed the threshold, according to data compiled by Standard & Poor’s. The others are Microsoft Corp., General Electric Co., Cisco Systems Inc., Intel Corp. and Exxon Mobil Corp., in chronological order.

As the CHART OF THE DAY shows, all five companies were below $500 billion a year after reaching that pinnacle, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. GE was the only one to surpass that value afterward.

“Getting there is hard,” Howard Silverblatt, a New York-based senior index analyst at S&P, wrote yesterday in an e-mail. “Staying there is harder.”

GE’s market value exceeded half a trillion dollars for the first time on Dec. 20, 1999, based on closing stock prices. The capitalization of the industrial-products and financial-services company fell below that level on Dec. 19, 2000. It was above the threshold in May and June 2001, peaking at $530.4 billion before dropping again.

Exxon Mobil had the second-longest time gap, nine months, between its first and last close at more than $500 billion. The comparable gap for Microsoft was 8 1/2 months, while Cisco’s was two weeks. Intel only surpassed that amount twice, on Aug. 23 and Aug. 31, 2000.

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