Apple’s shares have dropped slightly below $500 from an all-time high of $705.07. Its current market capitalization is about $462 billion. Exxon’s is near $407 billion, and its shares continue to ascend after a 15% move up during the past year. Apple’s shares are still higher by 20% over the same period, but it would not take much to push the stock back toward to its 52-week low of $419.55.
Apple’s bad news recently has been based as much on rumor as fact. Some suppliers have apparently cut production of some components of the iPhone 5. Apple may introduce an inexpensive iPhone that could harm the company’s margins. Leaving aside those rumors, Apple would not have to miss analyst consensus earnings of $13.34 by much on the low side to send the shares back into free-fall. Any weakness in its forecast for the next quarter could make the sell off worse.
Exxon on the hand, may well post above consensus numbers. Rival Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) recently announced it most recent quarter was stronger than expected. Exxon’s shares only need to rise 13% for its market cap to match Apple’s. Apple’s shares only need to fall 12%.