: Microsoft closes with valuation above $2 trillion, becoming second U.S. company to do so

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Microsoft Corp. became just the second U.S. company to close a trading day with a valuation above $2 trillion Thursday, joining Apple Inc. in an exclusive club.

Shares of Microsoft

closed up 0.5% in Thursday trading, finishing the day at $266.69 to give the technology giant a valuation of $2.009 trillion. Microsoft first crossed the $2 trillion mark in intraday trading Tuesday but failed to close above that mark.

Apple Inc.
which notched a $2 trillion valuation for the first time in August, is now worth more than $2.2 trillion.

Like many of its technology peers, Microsoft has benefited during the pandemic amid a digital boom that drove demand for the company’s Azure cloud-computing platform as well as tools like Microsoft Office and Microsoft Teams. The company’s personal-computer business has also seen strong results given a growing need for devices that can support remote work and schooling.

The company announced Thursday an updated version of its Windows operating system, the first in almost six years. Windows 11 will feature an app store in collaboration with Amazon.com Inc.

Microsoft’s market value hit a 2020 low of $1.03 trillion in the early days of the COVID-19 crisis, according to Dow Jones Market Data, but the shares are up more than 96% from their closing low of $135.42 on March 16, 2020.

The market-value gains for Microsoft since its March 2020 low are worth more than Facebook’s

entire market capitalization, also per Dow Jones Market Data, as Facebook’s valuation recently stood at about $973 billion.

Analysts remain upbeat about Microsoft’s prospects, with 33 of the 36 covering analysts tracked by FactSet holding buy-equivalent ratings on the shares. The average price target listed on FactSet is $294.73, which implies roughly 11% upside.

Shares are up 13.2% over the past three months as the Dow Jones Industrial Average

has risen about 5.6%.