Google’s Alphabet passes Apple as most valuable company

NEW YORK — Move over, Apple. Another company beginning with the letter A is now the world’s most valuable company. Alphabet.

Shares of Alphabet, the parent company of Google, rose nearly 4 percent Tuesday morning thanks to its strong earnings report.

As a result, Alphabet started the day with a market valuation of about $551 billion. Apple’s stock fell 1 percent, pushing its market value down to $531 billion.

Alphabet  can I just call it Google in the way the Arsenio Hall barber character in “Coming To America” refused to refer to Cassius Clay as Muhammad Ali?  wowed Wall Street with its fourth-quarter results after the closing bell Monday.

Sales and earnings easily beat Wall Street’s forecasts.

The company disclosed revenue and profits (or losses) for “other” businesses such as Nest, Google Fiber and X for the first time. Those units lost money. But that was expected.

The majority of Alphabet’s sales and earnings still come from its core Google operations  things like search, Android and YouTube. And those businesses are doing extremely well.

That’s a big reason why Alphabet stock has held up so well despite this year’s volatile market conditions.

Shares are up this year and that follows a more than 40 percent surge in 2015. Alphabet’s stock is only about 3.5 percent from hitting a record high.

Apple, on the other hand, has struggled to convince a skeptical Wall Street that it has any new tricks up its iSleeve.

The stock is down nearly 10 percent this year and is about 30 percent below its all-time high.

Even though Apple reported a record quarterly profit last week, the company warned that sales will fall in the current quarter. CEO Tim Cook also sounded nervous about the global economic outlook.

So AlphaGoogle (sorry) clearly has the momentum right now on Wall Street and Silicon Valley.

At least 23 analysts raised their price target for Alphabet on Tuesday, according to FactSet Research.

The most bullish of the bunch, Ross Sandler of Deutsche Bank, thinks Alphabet will hit $1,080 a share. That’s a 40 percent increase from Monday’s closing price.

Some think it’s possible that Alphabet will become the first U.S. company to reach $1 trillion in market value.

But Alphabet still has a long way to go before it comes close to Apple’s peak valuation.

Apple was worth nearly $775 billion back in February 2015. Alphabet would need to soar another 46 percent to top Apple’s record market cap.

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