The Ten Most Valuable Companies In America, Apple Rules

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10. Procter & Gamble
> Market cap: $167 billion
> Current stock price: $59
> 52 week high/low: $68/$57
> Industry: consumer products

P&G is the world’s largest consumer product company and does business in over 100 countries. Its broad array of products ranges from razors to soap to skin care. The company’s margins have been challenged with the rise of certain commodities prices, but management claims that most of this can be offset by increasing what it charges for its products. The prices of most commodities have leveled off in the last two months. P&G has a number of small competitors like Colgate, but none have been able to take meaningful share from the market leader. P&G trades in a 52-week price range of $68 to $57. It changes hands at $59 and will probably remain at that low level until it is clear that the consumer economy has recovered.

9. AT&T
> Market cap: $167 billion
> Current stock price: $28
> 52 week high/low: $32/$26
> Industry: telecommunications

AT&T is one of the largest telecom companies in the world, and it has huge franchises in wire line phones, cellular service, and fiber to the home. The last business competes with cable TV. AT&T’s wire line business shrinks with every customer who cancels his or her home phone service and moves to cellular or VoIP products. The cellular business has become more competitive as the number of U.S. customers reaches a saturation point. AT&T has tried to solve those problems via a buyout of T-Mobile, which would make AT&T the largest wireless company in the U.S. The company trades in a 52-week price range of $32 to $26 and trades now at $28. The company’s stock will stay under pressure until the T-Mobile deal closes. Even then, AT&T still has to face the rapid loss of home phone users.

8. Berkshire Hathaway
> Market cap: $170 billion
> Current stock price: $68
> 52 week high/low: $87/$66
> Industry: conglomerate

Warren Buffett’s conglomerate owns everything from railroads to newspapers to insurance companies. Part of the company’s appeal to Wall St. is the fact that Warren Buffett’s investing track record over the last 30 years is unequaled. Buffett tends to be a long-term investor and has held positions in corporations like Coca Cola for years. One of the major concerns about the company is that Buffett is 80 years old. The day he leaves, the shares are likely to tumble. The stock trades in 52-week range of $87 to $66. Shares are now at $68 on concerns that Buffett’s wide range of companies has exposure across the entire economy, and his insurance companies have investments in derivatives.

7. Wal-Mart
> Market cap: $171.bilion
> Current stock price: $50
> 52 week high/low: $58/$49
> Industry: retail

The world’s largest retailer has sales of $415 billion, and is the biggest single employer in the U.S. Wal-Mart has struggled mightily with stalled sales in the U.S. where it competes with Target, Costco, and Sears. Its overseas sales have been up sharply, mostly because of success in China and Mexico. Wal-Mart faces some cost pressures. Among these is the possibility that the company will be unionized in the U.S. The stock trades in a 52-week price range of $58 and $49. It trades at $50 on worries about a recession — one that could kill retail demand — and its struggles in the U.S. The stock will continue to trend lower if same-store sales in America do not improve.

6. Google
> Market cap: $180 billion
> Current stock price: $560
> 52 week high/low: $642/$447
> Industry: Internet

Google’s shares have been helped this year by a surge in sales and profits. The company still dominates the search engine market and has nearly three quarters of this business in the U.S. and most of Europe. Its position in big countries like China, India, and Russia is weaker. The market’s main complaint about Google is that it has continued to make huge investments in personnel and in products that are not profitable. The stock’s 52-week price range is $642 and $447. It trades at $560 now and profit momentum should move that number up.