Apple lost its position as the biggest public company in the world on Friday, amid growing concerns that its extraordinary growth trajectory of recent years is coming to an end.
Shares in the iPhone and iPad maker stood at more than $700 as recently as September, but had fallen 2pc to $440.75 by lunchtime on Friday, giving it a market capitalisation of $414.4bn (£262.4bn).
In doing so, the US technology giant slipped behind Exxon Mobil, the oil and gas business which it overtook in August last year. Exxon shares climbed 0.23 to $91.58, handing it a market capitalisation of $417.4bn (£264.3bn).
Investors cashed out of Apple for the second day running after the American technology giant’s fourth quarter results. Although Apple delivered a record profit of $31.1bn, its figures showed only a slight improvement on the previous year, causing alarm on Wall Street.
More than $50bn was wiped off the value of the company on Thursday as shares fell more than 12pc – its biggest fall for more than four years.
The disappointing results prompted more than 20 brokerages including Credit Suisse and Barclays, to lower their target prices on Apple shares.
They dropped by an average of $132 to $612. Analysts warned that the slowdown in sales of Apple’s gadgets could be “here to stay”, because of increasing competition from rivals like Samsung and an apparent slow down in new products from Apple.