Nvidia briefly passes Apple as second most valuable public U.S. company

Nvidia briefly passes Apple as second most valuable public U.S. company

Jensen Huang, co-founder and CEO of Nvidia, during the Nvidia GPU Technology Conference in San Jose, California, on March 19, 2024.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Nvidia briefly passed Apple in market cap on Wednesday during intraday trading as the chipmaker emerges as the primary beneficiary of the artificial intelligence boom. If it holds until the close, it will be the second most valuable U.S. company.

Nvidia also passed the $3 trillion market cap milestone on Wednesday. Nvidia had a market value of $3.007 trillion at one point, versus Apple’s, which stood at $3.005 trillion.

Nvidia shares have risen over 24% since the company reported first-quarter earnings in May and have been on a tear since last year. The company has an estimated 80% market share in AI chips for data centers, on which big tech companies spend billions.

Investors are also becoming more comfortable that Nvidia’s huge growth in sales to a handful of cloud companies can persist. For the most recent quarter, its data center business, which includes its GPU sales, rose 427% in a year to $22.6 billion in sales, about 86% of the company’s overall revenue.

Meanwhile, Apple shares are only about 5% this year, as Apple’s sales growth has stalled in recent months. In its most recent quarterly earnings report, Apple said overall sales dropped 4% and iPhone sales fell 10% from the year-ago period. Apple faces strategic questions and issues about demand in China, manufacturing, and mixed reactions to its new virtual reality headset, Vision Pro.

Apple was the first company to reach $1 trillion and $2 trillion market caps. It has frequently been the most valuable U.S. company over the past few years but was again passed by Microsoft earlier this year. Microsoft has benefitted from the same investor demand for AI as Nvidia.

Nvidia’s stock has been more volatile than Apple. Founded in 1991, it was primarily a gaming company, selling hardware to play 3D computer games. More recently it has sold cryptocurrency mining chips and cloud subscription services.

Nvidia shares have gone parabolic as its AI business has developed, rising over 3,290% in the past five years. It announced a 10-1 stock split in May.