Investing

The 10 Most Valuable Companies in America

Douglas A. McIntyre

Even with the sharp sell-off in the S&P 500, the market capitalization of two American companies is above $1 trillion. The top five have values of over $500 billion, and the 10 most valuable companies have market caps of more than $280 billion each. It is a sign that investors have not shaved a tremendous amount of value from mega-cap public corporations. Many of these stocks have bettered the S&P 500’s performance over the past month. The index is down 11% in that time.

Microsoft Corp’s (NASDAQ: MSFT) market cap is $1.13 trillion. Shares have retreated 7.6% over the past month. The company’s position as a leader in cloud computing is key to this, and the need for distributed computing is growing. Its operating software can be found on most servers and personal computers.

Apple Inc.’s (NASDAQ: AAPL) market cap is $1.08 trillion. Its shares are off 9.3% over the past month. It has a cash balance of over $100 billion. Its network of over 100 billion devices supports a considerable system to sell its services. The iPhone is by far the most profitable smartphone in the world.

Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) has a $946 billion market cap. Its stock is flat over the past 30 days. It has become the “go-to” way to shop since the spread of the coronavirus began. It is also one of the largest providers of streaming video, which has grown in popularity as people have been stuck indoors. And it is the largest cloud computing company in the world.

Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL), the parent of Google, has a market cap of $763 billion. It is one mega-cap company that has underperformed the S&P 500. While it is the largest provider of advertising in the United States and dominates search throughout most of the world, analysts worry that the growth of coronavirus will cut demand for ads.

Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) is the world’s largest social network, with 2.5 billion users. It has said that the use of its platform has soared since the virus started to spread globally. It may be the top way people have to communicate with one another. Although its ad rates have been hurt by the spread of COVID-19, this has been more than offset by user activity. Its shares are down 18.5% over the past month. It has a market cap of $446 billion.

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK-A) is Warren Buffett’s huge conglomerate. It is among the most diverse companies it the world. It owns companies from insurer GEICO to private jet provider NetJet. It also has substantial investments in some of America’s largest and best known companies. Buffett is considered the world’s greatest stock picker. The company’s market cap is $437 billion, and its shares are down 13.2% from a month ago.

Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) has a market cap of $347 billion. Its shares have fallen 11% over the past month. The company handles much of the world’s payment systems. That means that as people move to e-commerce, Visa is often a beneficiary. Because it is truly a global company its services are still used in brick-and-mortar stores in places where the virus has not spread widely.

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) is one of the largest providers of health care and medical products in the world. The demand for many of those things is rising. This includes Band-Aids, trauma medical devices and products for pulmonary hypertension. The market cap is $324 billion. Shares are down 8.7% over the past month.

Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) is the nation’s largest retailer and second-largest retail e-commerce company, by many measures. Most of its stores remain open. Its array of products, from groceries to clothing to toys, is so wide that people can use its stores for one-stop shopping. The company also offers curbside pickup of items ordered online, often considered a safer way to acquire merchandise. It has a market cap of $310 billion. Over the past month, its share price is down slightly less than 1%.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) already has been helped by the Federal Reserve dropping rates and making money more available to banks. It will be a significant conduit to loans to businesses backed by the federal government. It also is a leader in electronic banking, so customers can do business without branches. Its market cap is $280 billion, and the shares are down 21.5%.

These companies are not just large. They are also well positioned to help the new consumer economy and the product and service businesses that serve it.