Friday, April 19, 2013

Exxon Passes Apple Once Again

While the nation’s eyes were on Boston this week, Exxon Mobil once again passed Apple to become the world’s most valuable company. Evidently this horse race has had several lead changes over the past few months. What’s interesting to me in this news story is that it used to be auto manufacturers at or near the top of this heap. A quick glance at the top companies by market value shows immediately the automakers have lost their luster. Exxon Mobil is an energy company, Apple a tech firm. Number three Berkshire Hathaway is an investment company. Google, number four, is another tech firm. Number five is Wal-Mart, a company that makes nothing but excels in generating service sector jobs.

There was a time when six of the top ten companies were auto makers and oil companies. Alas, the past is gone.

If we look to revenue as the ultimate measure, instead of market cap, General Motors does capture the number five slot after ConocoPhillips (oil), Chevron (oil), Wal-Mart (retail) and Exxon (oil). In terms of most admired companies the top five list spins in yet another direction:

1 Apple
2 Google
4 Coca-Cola

No automakers. No oil companies.

What does it tell us?

The Chevrolet slogan "Heartbeat of America" had many layers of meaning. Manufacturing made the economy go 'round in this country, and Chevrolet was at the heart of it.

Times have changed.

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