Alphabet, aka Google, briefly worth more than Apple

What the heck is Alphabet?

The world's most valuable company is still Apple. But it may not be for much longer.

In fact, Alphabet -- the tech giant formerly known as Google -- briefly moved ahead of Apple on Monday afternoon for the first time.

Alphabet (GOOGL, Tech30) shares were up 2% in midday trading Monday, giving it a market valuation of about $533.4 billion. Apple's (AAPL, Tech30) stock fell more than 1%, pushing its market value down to $532.7 billion.

Shares of Alphabet pulled back from their highs later in the day though. Apple finished the day with a market value of $534.6 billion while Alphabet's market cap was $530 billion.

Alphabet -- can I just call it Google in the way the Arsenio Hall barber character in "Coming To America" refused to refer to Cassius Clay as Muhammad Ali? -- reported its fourth quarter results after the closing bell Monday.

Sales and earnings easily beat Wall Street's forecasts and the stock surged as much as 8% in after hours trading. At those levels, Alphabet would open on Tuesday at an all-time high -- and with a market value north of $570 billion.

The company disclosed revenue and profits (or losses) for "other" businesses such as Nest, Google Fiber and X for the first time. Those units lost money.

Related: Google about to give a first look at its big, secret, risky bets

But the majority of Alphabet's sales and earnings still come from its core Google operations -- things like search, Android and YouTube. And that business is doing extremely well.

That's a big reason why Alphabet stock has held up so well despite this year's volatile market conditions.

Shares are down just 1% -- and that follows a more than 40% surge in 2015. Alphabet's stock is only about 3.5% from hitting a new record high.

Apple, on the other hand, has struggled to convince a skeptical Wall Street that it has any new tricks up its iSleeve.

The stock is down nearly 10% this year and is about 30% below its all-time high.

Related: Apple's iPhone growth is slowing

Even though Apple reported a record quarterly profit last week, the company warned that sales will fall in the current quarter. CEO Tim Cook also sounded nervous about the global economic outlook.

So AlphaGoogle (sorry) clearly has the momentum right now on Wall Street and Silicon Valley. It's possible that it will become the first U.S. company to reach $1 trillion in market value.

But it still has a long way to go before it comes close to Apple's peak valuation. Apple was worth nearly $775 billion back in February 2015.

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