updated 8/11/2011 6:51:58 PM ET 2011-08-11T22:51:58

Exxon reclaimed the title of the most valuable company in America from Apple, thanks to an increase in the price of oil.

Shares of Apple Inc., which makes the iPhone and iPad, rose 2.8 percent to $373.70. But Exxon Mobil Corp. shares had an even better day, rising 5.2 percent to $71.58. That gives Exxon a market capitalization of $348 billion, compared with Apple's $346.5 billion.

Apple first surpassed Exxon on Tuesday afternoon, but settled at No. 2 by the time the stock market closed. On Wednesday it kept the top spot after the close, with a market cap of $337 billion versus Exxon's $331 billion. Exxon had held the top spot since 2005.

On Thursday, both stocks got a boost from a resurgent stock market. Exxon shares got an extra lift from a 3.4 percent increase in oil, to $85.72 per barrel.

Still, many analysts can understand why investors may view Apple as the more valuable company.

Exxon's growth is tied to the price of oil and to the discovery of new oil sources. Apple, meanwhile, is limited only by innovation and ongoing demand for its products. That demand, for now, seems insatiable. Apple also has room to grow, since it commands just a small fraction of the smartphone and mobile markets.

Story: Why Apple is now No. 1 company in the world

Exxon shares are still down 12 percent since June 30, a time period when oil prices have dropped 10 percent. Apple shares have gained 11.3 percent in the same time frame.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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