Nvidia surpasses Microsoft to become most valuable US company

Nvidia’s chips are helping to develop AI, which proponents expect to change the world as much or more than the internet.
Posted at 3:24 PM, Jun 18, 2024

The staggering run for Nvidia’s stock carried it to the market’s mountaintop Tuesday, as it became the most valuable company on Wall Street.

The S&P 500 added 0.3% to set an all-time high for the 31st time this year. The Nasdaq composite edged up by less than 0.1% to set its own record, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 56 points, or 0.1%.

Underneath that calm market surface, Nvidia was the star again. It rose again, this time up 3.5%. It was the strongest force pushing the S&P 500 upward, again. And it lifted its total market value further above $3 trillion, again.

It grabbed the top spot on Wall Street from Microsoft, which has been trading the crown back and forth with Apple after they wrested it from past titans like ExxonMobil and cigarette-maker Philip Morris.

Microsoft and Apple were at the vanguard of Big Tech, which is the dominant force in the U.S. stock market after amassing strength through the digitization of the world. Nvidia is riding the wave of a more specific tech surge, this time in artificial intelligence.

Nvidia’s chips are helping to develop AI, which proponents expect to change the world as much or more than the internet, and demand for its chips has proven to be shockingly voracious. Nvidia’s revenue routinely triples every quarter, and its profit is rocketing at even more breathtaking rates. Its stock is up nearly 174% this year, and Nvidia alone was responsible for nearly a third of the S&P 500’s entire gain for the year through May.

Of course, a potential danger of having a handful of superstars responsible for most of the U.S. stock market’s run to records is a more fragile market. If more stocks were participating, it could be a signal of a healthier market.

Stocks broadly got some lift Tuesday from easing yields in the bond market. Treasury yields fell after a report showed sales at U.S. retailers returned to growth last month but remained below economists’ expectations.

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