A MILESTONE: Apple Inc. briefly surpassed Exxon Mobil Corp. on Tuesday afternoon as the nation's most valuable company.
SO CLOSE: The iPhone and iPad maker had the lead for much of the afternoon before its stock closed just behind Exxon's. The two companies are so close that Apple is likely to gain, and keep, the top spot soon.
THE NUMBERS: Apple shares gained 5.9 percent to $374.01 on Tuesday, bringing its market capitalization to about $347 billion. Exxon Mobil's stock, meanwhile, closed up 2.1 percent at 71.64. That gives the oil company a market cap of $348 billion as of the market's close. Its stock retreated earlier in the day, allowing Apple to take the lead.