Who knew social media was worth more than groceries? It’s kind of hard to believe, but it’s a fact that the market cap of technology darling Facebook surpassed that of retail giant Wal-Mmart in trading on Tuesday, June 24th. This could, of course, change in late day trading or over the next few days if Wal-Mart reports some positive news.
Perhaps most surprisingly, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) has accomplished this remarkable valuation landmark in just over three years since its IPO.
Facebook (FB) shares up 30% in 2015
This sea change in the relative valuations of major U.S. firms is largely related to a huge surge in the shares of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) this year, and a long stagnation for those of the world’s largest retailer. In the last 12 months, Facebook shares are up close to 30% as the S&P 500 has just inched up fractionally this year. The move up in share price has boosted Facebook’s market cap by $65 billion, topping $236 billion and putting it just above Wal-Mart’s $235 billion.
Wal-Mart’s revenues are almost 40 times Facebook’s
Changes in relative market cap happen all the time and are not really that big a deal. That said, many folk are pointing out how this somehow doesn’t seem right. When you compare Facebook and Wal-Mart, for example, there’s no contest in terms of revenues. Wal-Mart is the largest company in the world, with annual revenues above $476 billion in 2014. Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), on the other hand, only produced revenues of roughly $12.5 billion.
Analysts argue that the fact that FFacebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s market value has moved ahead of retail king Wal-Mart underlines a wider sociocultural market shift that is relatively easy to understand. The arguments goes given that technology continues to play larger and larger part in our lives, it only makes sense that technology should be playing a larger role in the economy.
In other words, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s overtaking Wal-Mart in market value reflects the rapidly growing economic importance of technology, at least in the minds of investors. Not surprisingly, the largest U.S. firms by market cap currently are Apple and Microsoft, with Google coming in at number five.