Apple tops the PwC Global Top 100 list for the fifth time

Apple retains pole position for the 5th year in a row in PwC’s Global Top 100 ranking; however, a $121 billion (17%) decrease in market cap sees the gap with second ranked Alphabet narrow from $350 billion last year to just $86 billion. Alphabet, the parent company of Google, briefly dethroned Apple in February 2016.

PwC notes that Apple is also returning cash to shareholders with another $42 billion handed back to investors in dividends and share repurchases in calendar year 2015 ($56 billion was distributed in 2014). Google doesn’t pay dividends or undertake share buybacks.

Technology has overtaken the financial sector this year, underlining the resilience and innovative features of tech companies. The global top three are now technology companies: Apple, Alphabet and Microsoft, closely followed by Facebook in sixth position.

The latest Global Top 100 rankings cover the period from March 31, 2015, to March 31, 2016. The list ranks the top 100 global companies by market capitalization.