Apple Tops Exxon Mobil as Most Valuable U.S. Company Amid Volatile Stock Market

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Even though it was brief, the technology company has long been the second-largest company in terms of market capitalization behind the oil giant.

NEW YORK - Amid Tuesday's wild stock market rise, technology giant Apple briefly overtook oil conglomerate Exxon Mobil as the U.S. company with the biggest market value on Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reported.

In mid-afternoon trading on Tuesday, Apple, led by CEO Steve Jobs, hit a market capitalization of $343 billion, edging past Exxon's market value for a brief period, according to the Journal. The two companies had seen a difference of around $50 billion in market value just a few weeks ago.

At the end of the trading day though, Exxon's market cap once again trumped Apple's $346.7 billion.

Tuesday's brief change at the top of the market value ranking marked another milestone for Apple, which has gained in value in recent years thanks to the success of its products, such as iPods and iPads.

It hasn't always been that valuable. The Journal recalled that at the end of 1993, when Exxon's market value stood at nearly $78 billion, Apple's market cap stood at just $3.9 billion. And a few years later, Apple was close to bankruptcy before Jobs returned, and the company's fortunes changed for the better.