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The Road to $1 Trillion: A List of Major Market Cap Milestones

monopoly-guyThe market continues to buzz about Apples $1 trillion market valuation.

It’s an incredible amount of wealth creation in any context — but getting to 12 zeros is especially impressive when you consider that Apple was just 90 days from declaring bankruptcy in 1997.

Today’s chart shows this milestone — as well as many of the ones before it — through a period of over 200 years of US market history. It was inspired by this interesting post by Global Financial Data, which is worth reading in its own right.

Market Cap Milestones

Over the last couple of centuries, and with the exception of brief moments in time such as the Japanese stock bubble of 1989, the largest company in the world has almost always been based in the United States.

Here are the major market cap milestones in the US that preceded Apples recent $1 trillion valuation, achieved August 2nd, 2018:

Bank of North America (1781)
The first company to hit $1 million in market capitalization. It was the first ever IPO in the United States.

Bank of the United States (1791)
The first company to hit $10 million in market capitalization had a 20 year charter to start, and was championed by Alexander Hamilton.

New York Central Railroad (1878)
The first company to hit $100 million in market capitalization was a crucial railroad that connected New York City, Chicago, Boston, and St. Louis.

AT&T (1924)
The first company to hit $1 billion in market capitalization — this was far before the breakup of AT&T into the Baby Bells, which occurred in 1982.

General Motors (1955)
The first company to hit $10 billion in market capitalization. The 1950s were the golden years of growth for US auto companies like GM and Ford, taking place well before the mass entry of foreign companies like Toyota into the domestic automobile market.

General Electric (1995)
The first company to hit $100 billion in market capitalization was only able to do so 23 years ago.

The Other Trillion Dollar Company

Interestingly, Apple is not the first company globally to ever hit $1 trillion in market capitalization. The feat was achieved momentarily by PetroChina in 2007, after a successful debut on the Shanghai Stock Exchange that same year. The stock price tripled that day to hit the mark, but then the company quickly lost more than $800 billion in valuation as oil prices collapsed and the Financial Crisis set in.

Photo Credit: aisletwentytwo; Infographic: Courtesy of Visual Capitalist

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