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Apple to Top Spain, Greece, Portugal: Chart of the Day

Apple Inc.’s market value is about to overtake that of almost 500 public companies in Spain, Greece and Portugal combined, which together make less profit than the maker of iPhones.

The CHART OF THE DAY shows the equity capitalization of Cupertino, California-based Apple, the world’s most valuable company, and that of the three European countries at the center of Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The total market value of the nations’ public companies in November 2007 was 11 times that of Apple’s before $1 trillion was wiped off their shares.

“This shows the difference between the dark macro challenges and the bright corporate fundamentals, and highlights the change in dynamics that has taken place in the past couple of years,” said Henk Potts, an equity strategist at Barclays Wealth in London, which oversees $239 billion, in an interview.

Apple shares rose eightfold from January 2009 to $636.23 on April 9 as demand for products such as the iPad and iPhone swelled. The average 12-month price estimate in a Bloomberg analyst survey is for the stock to reach $689, or a market capitalization of $643 billion. Spain’s IBEX 35 Index lost 36 percent since the start of 2010, Portugal’s PSI 20 declined 37 percent, and the Athens Stock Exchange General Index slid almost 70 percent as Greece restructured $273 billion in debt, while borrowing costs for neighboring nations jumped.

Apple’s net income during the past 12 months was $33 billion, surpassing the $32 billion of combined earnings reported by companies with a main listing in the three European countries, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“The sovereign debt crisis has turned southern European markets into a graveyard for investors,” Potts said. “While Apple’s innovation, brand and cash generation has transported its investors to a promised land of incredible returns and stock-market dominance.”

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