Amazon Briefly Joins Apple in The $1 Trillion Elite Group

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Amazon.com Inc joined Apple Inc in the $1 trillion club, becoming the second member of the group after its stock price doubled in 15 months. If the online retailer’s share price continues at its recent pace, it will be a matter of when not if, Amazon’s market valuation eclipses that of iPhone maker Apple, which reached $1 trillion on August 2. Apple took almost 38 years as a public company to achieve the trillion dollar milestone, while Amazon got there in 21 years.

America went 242 years without a trillion-dollar company. Thirty-three days after getting the first, it now has two. Jeff Bezos’ online superstore rose as much as 1.9 percent to $2,050.50 in New York, sending its capitalization above $1 trillion for the first time. Two other companies, Microsoft corp. and Google parent Alphabet Inc., are within $170 billion of the goal.

This is the latest chapter in Amazon’s rapid rise over the past few years. Amazon’s latest surge comes after the company gained 103% in the past twelve months, which added around $520bn in equity value, according to estimates. Incidentally, this is more than the entire market cap of Facebook.com, which currently is valued at $493.17 billion. Amazon’s share price has climbed during the year, lifting the personal wealth of the company’s 54-year-old founder with it. Forbes estimated his net worth about $166 billion.

Bezos was enchanted by computer science when the IT industry was in its infancy and he studied engineering at Princeton University.  After graduating, he put his skills to work on Wall Street, whereby 1990 he had risen to be a senior vice president at investment firm D.E. Shaw. He surprised peers by leaving his high-paid position about four years later to open an online bookseller called Amazon.com, which according to legend was started in a garage in a Seattle suburb.

From a valuation perspective, Amazon and Apple reflect distinct judgments about what constitutes value in the stock market. Apple may earn more than $58 billion in its 2018 fiscal year, the fruit of maturing franchises in everything from mobile phones to personal computers. At about 19 times projected profit, the company is huge and also relatively cheap. Amazon’s a different animal, a retail behemoth that maniacally held down profit margins for all of its 24-year existence and is expected to earn a relatively paltry $8.5 billion in 2018.

Analysts expect Apple’s revenue to jump 14.9% in its fiscal year ending in September, a hefty rise but still far short of Amazon’s expected revenue growth of 32% for 2018.