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AAPL Threatens Exxon's Spot As Most Valuable U.S. Corporation

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(Reuters) - Apple Inc is well-known to be the world's largest technology company by market value, and rivals Exxon Mobil Corp as the largest U.S. corporation by that measure.

On Tuesday, it took the wraps off another stellar set of numbers, pulverizing Wall Street's targets on everything from earnings to margins and sending its shares 10 percent higher in after-hours trading.

Many investors have by now come to take the consumer electronics company's annual performance metrics in stride, but here is a look at some of its more startling numbers, in context:

- Market value: almost $400 billion

Apple is hovering just a whisker off its record high. Many on the Street target $550 to $600 per share as an achievable milestone: assuming no change in existing shares, that would accord the Silicon Valley titan a value of as much as $560 billion, equivalent to the annual Gross Domestic Product of Switzerland.

Exxon has a market value of $420 billion, annual revenue about four times Apple's and twice the tech company's roughly 46,000 employees.

- Revenue grew 65 percent or $43 billion to $108.25 billion in fiscal 2011.

That is akin to creating a Fortune 500 company from scratch. For instance, a revenue of precisely $43 billion would place the company below Intel Corp and Sears Holdings Corp - 56th and 57th, respectively, on the 2011 U.S. Fortune 500.

- Apple's shares, a mainstay of many fund portfolios, rose 25 percent in calendar 2011, tacking on $77 billion in market capitalization - close to Hewlett Packard Co's and Dell Inc's capitalization, combined.

And yet Apple stock's is valued at just 15 times projected earnings, compared with slower-growing Google Inc's 21 times and Amazon.com Inc's near-100 times.

- Near $100 billion cash pile

One of the reasons Apple's shares trade at a relatively low multiple is because it has huge amounts of cash that investors say can be put to better use. Its cash balance stood at $97.6 billion at the end of December, roughly equivalent to California's 2012/13 state budget.

- Apple sold 37 million iPhones and more than 15 million iPads in the December quarter, meaning it moved 92.94 million iPhones and 40.43 million tablets in calendar 2011.

If you laid them end-to-end, they would just about stretch halfway around the Earth's circumference.

(Reporting By Edwin Chan; editing by Andre Grenon)

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