(Reuters) – A surge in Microsoft Corp shares nearly dethroned Apple Inc as the world’s most valuable company on Wednesday, a day before the iPhone maker released its quarterly results.

Fueled by strong quarterly growth in its Azure cloud computing business, Microsoft shares jumped 4.2% to close to a record $ 323.17, taking the software maker’s market cap to $ 2.426 billion , just below Apple’s valuation of $ 2,461 billion, according to data from Refinitiv.

Apple shares fell 0.3% ahead of its expected report after Thursday’s bell, with investors focusing on how the global supply chain crisis calls into question the company’s ability to respond on demand for its iPhones.

Microsoft’s stock has risen 45% this year, with pandemic-induced demand for its cloud-based services boosting sales. Apple shares climbed 12% in 2021.

Apple’s market value surpassed that of Microsoft in 2010, as the iPhone made it the world’s number one consumer tech company. The two companies have taken turns becoming the most valuable company on Wall Street in recent years, with Apple holding the title since mid-2020.

In its report Tuesday night, Microsoft forecast a good end to the calendar year thanks to its booming cloud business, but it warned that supply chain issues will continue to weigh on key units, such as those that produce. its Surface laptops and Xbox gaming consoles.

Analysts on average expect Apple to report revenue up 31% for the September quarter to $ 84.8 billion and adjusted earnings per share of $ 1.24, according to Refinitiv.

(Reporting by Noel Randewich in San Francisco, editing by Matthew Lewis)


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