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Can Microsoft become the biggest company after Apple’s dip?

Can Microsoft become the biggest company after Apple's dip?

Tech giants Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) showcased similar stock market performances in 2023, with Microsoft edging ahead in terms of financial success.

However, as 2024 unfolded, the difference in stock price movements started to become more apparent. Amidst a general market decline, Apple’s stock plummeted at an accelerated rate, attributed to its role as a driving force behind the broader downturn.

As a result, the gap between the two juggernauts’ market capitalizations also narrowed, and if the current trend persists, MSFT stands a decent chance of dethroning AAPL as the world’s largest stock.

Will MSFT become the world’s biggest stock?

The gap between Microsoft and Apple’s stock price movements started to widen in December. Although the broader market was thriving following the Federal Reserve’s announcement of plans for a dovish pivot, the iPhone maker embarked on a downward trajectory in the latter part of the last month.

Truthfully, that should be no surprise. Apple reported a sales decline in each quarter of the previous fiscal year due to sluggish iPhone demand and challenges in the Chinese market, among other things.

Meanwhile, driven by its key role in the ongoing artificial intelligence (AI) space, Microsoft’s quarterly reports beat Wall Street’s expectations. 

Adding to AAPL’s woes, earlier this week analysts at Barclays downgraded the stock and reduced the price target to $160, triggering a significant sell-off. The company’s shares fell 5.5% since the last closing price in 2023, wiping roughly $200 billion off its market cap.

At the time of writing, Apple is standing at $181.91, with a market cap of $2.79 trillion, according to TradingView data. Microsoft, which also lost value this year but at a slower pace, is sitting on a $2.73 trillion market valuation.

AAPL YTD chart. Source: Finbold

With a share float of more than $7.32 billion, MSFT needs to hit a stock price of $381.15 per share to reach Apple’s current valuation of $2.79 trillion. The stock is currently trading at $367.94, 3.5% short of that level.

MSFT YTD chart. Source: Finbold

However, if Apple continues to drop at a faster pace, this task would become significantly easier for the Windows maker.

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