Apple overtakes Wal-Mart


Philip Elmer-DeWitt is a senior editor at Fortune.

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.

See also:

[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]

All products and services featured are based solely on editorial selection. FORTUNE may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website.

Quotes delayed at least 15 minutes. Market data provided by Interactive Data. ETF and Mutual Fund data provided by Morningstar, Inc. Dow Jones Terms & Conditions: http://www.djindexes.com/mdsidx/html/tandc/indexestandcs.html. S&P Index data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Terms & Conditions. Powered and implemented by Interactive Data Managed Solutions