Microsoft has caught up to Apple in market valuation

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In late afternoon trade, Apple has taken back the top spot, with shares up 0.5 per cent. Microsoft is 2.9 per cent higher as tech shares gave Wall Street a big boost.

Microsoft and Apple are duking it out.

Buoyed by a broad rebound in US stocks on Monday, Microsoft jumped 3.11 per cent to $106.28, pushing its market capitalization up to a record $816-billion at mid-day.

Apple's market valuation of $812.60 billion dipped below Microsoft's $812.93 billion as of 1.05pm in NY, meaning it had shed about $300 billion in value after cresting a record $1.1 trillion valuation in early October. Microsoft has jockeyed with both Apple and e-commerce giant Amazon for position among the most valuable companies.

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Instead, it's likely that Apple's recent struggles with low demand for its latest iPhones are what caused the company's stock - and thus, its market cap - to slide.

The Nasdaq has fallen more than 12 per cent since the end of September, with high-flying tech names experiencing big drops.

Weaker results from several iPhone parts makers in recent days have stoked concerns that demand for Apple's flagship smartphone is slowing.

According to Rich Ross, a technical analyst at Evercore ISI, Apple's stock "has another 18 per cent downside", which could take the stock to $140, its 200-week moving average.