Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

Apple overtakes Wal-Mart

March 12, 2010: 10:43 AM ET

Shares surge on iPad pre-orders, making Apple America's third most valuable company

UPDATE: That was short-lived. By March 15, Apple's market cap had fallen below Wal-Mart's once again.

Ninety minutes after Apple (AAPL) opened its online store for iPad pre-orders Friday morning, a burst of trading -- roughly 2 million shares in 30 minutes -- pushed its stock price to $227.73 and its market cap to $206.5 billion.

That, and a dip in Wal-Mart's (WMT) share price, made Apple -- if only briefly -- America's third largest company by market capitalization, after Exxon (XOM) and Microsoft (MSFT) and ahead of Wal-Mart and Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-A).

Apple shares have been on a tear since the iPad's ship date was announced last Friday, hitting five all-time highs in as many days.

UPDATE: Apple closed at $226.6, up 1.1 points (.49%) for yet another all-time high. It's market cap is now $205.48 billion, $309 million more above Wal-Mart, which closed down .07 points (.13%) for the day.

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[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]

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Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for

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