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Apple shares plunge despite record results

Firm could lose its status as the world's most valuable company

Apple shares took a hit last night after the company's quarterly financial results showed weaker than expected growth.

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While the iPhone maker reported record results for its first quarter, Apple posted its slowest profit growth since 2003 and its weakest sales increase in 14 quarters in the face of higher costs and rising competition, Bloomberg reports.

Apple shares subsequently dropped eight per cent in Germany and as much as 11 per cent in late New York trading.

"People are concerned about how quickly sales are falling off after the initial product launches and whether the company can deliver new and interesting products to reignite growth," said Walter Piecyk, co-head of research at BTIG LLC in New York.

The decline in Apple's shares since they hit a record high of $700 in September has seen its market capitalisation fall by $175 billion, and the firm is now in danger of losing its status as the world's most valuable company to oil and gas corporation Exxon Mobil. At the close in New York last night, Apple shares stood at $514.01, giving the firm a market value of $482.7 billion, compared with Exxon's $413.5 billion.

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