Exxon passes Apple as most valuable company
By BARBARA ORTUTAY
AP Technology Writer
Exxon passes Apple as most valuable company
NEW YORK (AP) — Exxon has once again surpassed Apple as the world’s most valuable company after the iPhone and iPad maker saw its stock price falter.
Apple Inc.’s stock has been on the decline since the company’s quarterly earnings report Wednesday suggested that its fast growth phase, rare for a company of its size, may be coming to an end.
Apple’s stock fell 2.4 percent to close Friday at $439.88 for a market capitalization of $413 billion. That followed a 12 percent drop on Thursday, the biggest one-day percentage drop for the company since 2008.
Exxon Mobil Corp. gained 38 cents Friday to $91.73 for a market capitalization of $418 billion.
Apple first surpassed Exxon in the summer of 2011, displacing the oil company from a perch it had held since 2005. The two companies traded places through that fall, until Apple surpassed Exxon for good in early 2012 – at least until Friday.
China’s largest oil company, PetroChina, could lay claim to having hit a market capitalization even higher than either Exxon’s or Apple’s, but only based on prices on the Shanghai stock exchange, which is isolated from the rest of the financial world because of Chinese laws on foreign investment. PetroChina’s shares also trade in Hong Kong and on the New York Stock Exchange. Based on prices there, its market capitalization never went as high as $500 billion.
Apple and Exxon are among only a half dozen U.S. companies to have ever reached $500 billion in market value. Apple and Microsoft Corp. are the only ones to have ever hit $600 billion.
Apple’s stock price peaked in September at $705.07 on the day the iPhone 5 was released. Exxon, in the meantime, has been trading steady. Its business – oil – seems less prone to stock market ups and downs than the Cupertino, Calif.-based tech darling.
Exxon, which is based in Irving, Texas, set a record in 2008 for the highest quarterly earnings by any company. In the first nine months of 2012, Exxon earned nearly $35 billion, or 10 percent more than the same period in 2011, on revenue of $367 billion. Results for the fourth quarter are due Feb. 1.
Exxon, the biggest investor-owned energy company in the world, predicted in December that oil will continue to be the most important source of energy. That’s because cars, trucks, airplanes, trains and ships will still depend heavily on oil-derived fuels such as gasoline and diesel.
This year, investors seem unforgiving with Apple, looking for perfection and punishing the stock for anything less. The company’s stock price slipped below $500 for the first time last week, as investors saw signs that the iPhone 5 was falling behind competition from phones running Google’s Android software, especially those from Samsung Electronics Co.
The latest quarterly report added to the concerns. Apple warned that its revenue growth, which had been running at a speed more reminiscent of promising startups than multi-national corporations, is slowing down considerably.
A big reason: It has been nearly three years since a new product has come from a company still seen as the embodiment of innovation. That last product, the iPad, came in 2010, when its CEO Steve Jobs was still alive. Some analysts question whether Apple can keep growing by just releasing new versions of its old products. The long-rumored Apple TV, is still just that, a rumor.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Fri Jan 25, 2013 6:15 pm
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FOUR VALUABLE PASSPORTS THAT ANYONE CAN OBTAIN
by SIMON BLACK
The idea of international diversification is a simple one– if you live, work, hold investments, own property, structure your business, store gold, etc. in the same country as your citizenship, then you truly have all of your eggs in one very fragile basket.
If just one little thing goes wrong, whether it’s a court case, divorce settlement, political instability, government agency ‘administrative error’, or some noxious bureaucrat who’s out to get you, all of those aspects of your life can be put at extreme risk.
The idea of ‘planting flags’, or diversifying internationally, involves spreading these aspects of your life across multiple jurisdictions and territories overseas. Banking in one place. Setting up a brokerage in another. Investing in another. Storing gold in another. Owning property in another.
You can do this with dozens, potentially hundreds of aspects of your life and/or business– using an offshore email account, obtaining medical treatment overseas, seeking personal companionship abroad, setting up an overseas credit card processor for a web business, initiating an IPO for your company on an overseas exchange, foreign health insurance, etc.
Taking these kinds of steps can make your life much, much easier. Suddenly all of those aspects of your life no longer fall under the jurisdiction of your home government; legions of blood-sucking bureaucrats no longer have access to confiscate your assets and frustrate your life with a few mouse clicks.
Potentially the most important and most powerful aspect of your life to diversify, however, is citizenship. I view this as the ultimate insurance policy– something that you hope you’ll never have to use, but you’ll really be glad you have it in case you do.
Having a second citizenship is like having a ‘get out of jail free’ card. It creates options. No matter what happens in the world, you’ll always have a place to go. You’ll always have a ticket out. And as I’m fond of saying, nobody ever hijacks an airplane and threatens to kill all the Lithuanians. Second citizenship does bring a greater sense of security.
Obtaining citizenship, however, is elusive for many people. Some people are lucky enough to come from a line of Irish, Polish, or Italian ancestors. For most, though, it takes a combination of three things:
If you’re willing to simply pay for it, there are certain countries like St. Kitts and Dominica which offer citizenship to people who are simply willing to pay. Most folks unfortunately can’t afford the $250,000+ price tag that’s required, so that leaves the other two.
Just about every country is willing to eventually naturalize permanent residents who reside in the country for a particular amount of time. It varies greatly from place to place. This past weekend, I learned from a subscriber who came down to Chile that, in Japan, it takes two decades of continuous residence.
Other places, like Belgium, offer naturalization after as little as three years, possibly two in extreme circumstances. This is a much easier option for most people, especially for such a valuable passport.
Then there’s the ability to obtain citizenship through what I call ‘flexibility’. This may include something like getting married to a local, which in many countries can provide an extremely rapid path to naturalization.
As an example, I’d like to outline a few options below of high quality passports that anyone can obtain with either time and/or flexibility:
1) SINGAPORE. Easily the most valuable travel document on the planet, a Singaporean can travel almost anywhere without a visa, including to the US and Europe. It takes two years of residence after obtaining permanent residency to qualify for naturalization. And obtaining permanent residence is a snap– you can simply set up a local company to qualify.
Pitfalls: Singapore does have mandatory national service, and it’s important to review the rules to find out whether you would fall within the window.
2) BRAZIL. There are two great things about Brazil. One, they refuse to extradite their citizens to answer for foreign crimes. It just doesn’t happen. Two, ANYONE can be Brazilian, whatever their ethnicity– black, white, brown, it doesn’t matter. Brazil is a huge melting pot. We are all Brazilian.
Brazil is the KING of ‘flexible’ citizenship options– getting married, adopting a child, hell even adopting a rain forest in some cases. And it can happen in as little as six-months to three years. Just don’t expect the process to be crystal clear.
3) ISRAEL. Speaking of flexible, if you’re willing to become Jewish, the State of Israel’s Right of Return entitles you to citizenship. Make no mistake, though, it’s not just going through the motions– you have to work with local religious leaders and actually make the conversion before they’re willing to go through the process.
Pitfalls: The downside of Israeli citizenship should be clear as military service is compulsory.
4) BELGIUM. At its core, Belgium’s naturalization laws allow foreigners who have maintained residence in the country for three years to apply for citizenship. “Residence” can either be in Belgium, or even abroad so long as you can demonstrate ties to Belgium, i.e. family, friends, employment, property ownership, paying taxes, etc.
Aside from being an incredibly valuable travel document, Belgian naturalization also passes to all minor children– in other words, if you become a naturalized Belgian, your kids do too.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Thu Feb 23, 2012 11:14 am
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