Amazon surpasses Microsoft as most valuable U.S. company

/ CBS/AP

NYC activists protest Amazon expansion

Amazon has eclipsed Microsoft as the most valuable publicly traded company in the U.S. as a see-sawing stock market continues to reshuffle Corporate America's pecking order.

The latest shift occurred Monday after Amazon's shares rose 3 percent to close at $1,629.51 and lifted the e-commerce leader's market value to $797 billion. Meanwhile, Microsoft's stock edged up by less than 1 percent to finish at $102.06, leaving the computer software maker's value at $784 billion. Market capitalization is determined by multiplying a company's share price by the number of shares it has outstanding.

It marks the first time Amazon has held the top spot and ends Microsoft's brief return to the pinnacle after it surpassed Apple in late November. Apple is now in the fourth spot for market cap, trailing No. 3 Alphabet, Google's parent.

The repositioning has been triggered by mounting concerns that the Trump administration's trade war with China and rising interest rates will bog down the worldwide economy. If that were to happen, it's likely to slow the growth of companies in technology and other industries that generate a substantial chunk of their revenue outside the U.S.

That's one reason most technology stocks are well off their peaks. Amazon, for instance, remains 21 percent below its high reached in September when its market cap stood above $1 trillion. Apple was worth even more back then, but its stock has plunged by 37 percent since early October to erase about $400 billion of its market value.

Apple confirmed some of investors' worst fears last week when it warned that disappointing demand for iPhones, especially in China, caused its revenue for its most recent quarter to fall well below the projections of its management and industry analysts.

First published on January 7, 2019

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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