The latest results from Apple, Alphabet/Google, Amazon, Facebook and Alibaba are in. Who will win the race to $1 trillion, who will win the race to $2 trillion?
Let’s cut to it, here are the latest results from the four companies in the latest quarter, revealed this week:
|revenue, in $billion||growth in per cent||profits in $billion||growth in profits in per cent||market cap in $billion
- This excludes a $9.9 billion one-off tax charge Alphabet incurred to take advantage of changes in US rates for profits.
Or see it as pictures, note as above, Alphabet figures on profits exclude the one-off.
If growth in shares followed the trajectory in growth in profits, and continued at the same rate then:
Apple would see its market cap pass $1 trillion in 2019, and $2 trillion in 2026.
Alphabet would see its market cap pass $1 trillion in 2019, and $2 trillion in 2022.
Amazon would see its market cap pass $1 trillion in 2019, and $2 trillion in 2020.
Facebook would see its market cap pass $1 trillion in 2020, and $2 trillion in 2021.
Alibaba would see its market cap pass $1 trillion in 2021, and $2 trillion in 2023.
It won’t work like that, of course. For one thing, in most cases, growth in profits will surely slow, although the Apple growth rate may continue for a while. For another thing, market cap is as much a function of expected profits as actual profits, and there is an awful lot of hope built into some of the share valuations.
Race to a trillion and two trillion dollars
If profits carried on growing at the rate we have seen over the last year, and assuming a market cap of say 44 times quarterly profits, which is the ratio that currently applies to Apple, a market cap of $1 trillion and $2 trillion would be reached for each of the five techs, according to this timetable:
|One trillion dollars||Two trillion dollars|
Of course, the valuation of each company to profits would change this, at the moment the so-called PE ratio, which measures profits to earnings, is much lower at Apple, and massive for Amazon. The above table just assumes all five techs see PEs converge with the current Apple PE, and assumes that the latest growth rate continues.
Note also, Aramco, when it is floated, may reach both targets first.