SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) - Shares of Apple sank below US$90 for the first time in nearly two years during trade Thursday, ceding the title of the world’s largest company by market valuation to Google.
With investors souring on the outlook for sales of its iPhones and iPads, and no new blockbuster consumer electronics product in its offerings, Apple shares fell sharply to US$89.47 in early trade before coming back to end the day off 2.4 per cent at US$90.34.
That was enough to lose the title of the world’s largest company to Google parent Alphabet, whose shares lost just 0.3 per cent at US$713.31.
Apple ended the day valued at US$494.8 billion by market capitalisation, while its Silicon Valley rival Google was just a bit shy of US$500 billion.
Apple shares have lost about 14 per cent since the beginning of 2016 and are down one-third from the peak of US$132.54 one year ago.
Apple stock has slid sharply since mid-April, hit in part by the company’s disappointing fiscal second-quarter earnings, which showed a decline in revenues and the first quarterly drop in iPhone unit sales since launching the smartphone in 2007.
Worries were mounting over the pace of iPhone sales, the company’s top earner, amid reports that consumers worldwide are generally replacing their phones less often than before.
Key Asian producers of components for Apple were also seeing their shares pummelled on the forecast for slower iPhone sales.
And analysts at UBS cut their outlook for Apple’s share price on Wednesday to US$115 from US$120 on lower sales forecasts.