The time of the oil multinationals seemed to have come to an end, but since the Ukraine war they have been making a comeback on the stock exchanges. The shares of technology companies, on the other hand, are suffering particularly badly.

The price drop on the stock markets since the start of the Ukraine war has thrown the ranking of the 100 most valuable listed companies upside down. Saudi oil giant Saudi Aramco edged Apple to second place in the first half of the year, according to a study by auditing and consulting firm EY. The turbulence on the stock markets hit technology groups hard, while energy companies experienced a renaissance. For the first time since the EY survey began in 2006, German corporations are no longer in the top 100.

With a market value of 2.3 trillion dollars (around 2.2 trillion euros) as of June 30, 2022, Saudi Aramco was the most expensive company in the world. Tech giant Apple, which topped the top 100 at the end of 2021, came second with $2.2 trillion.

Trillions worth destroyed

The price slide on the world stock exchanges destroyed trillions in the first half of 2022. The market capitalization alone – i.e. the value of the shares traded on the stock exchange – of the 100 most expensive companies fell by 17 percent or $6.1 trillion to around $29.8 trillion over the course of the first six months. The stock market value of the long-favored technology groups collapsed by 28 percent compared to the end of 2021 (reference date: December 31, 2021). Bucking the trend, the oil and gas companies among the top 100 increased their stock market value by 19 percent.

“Recently, investors have been focusing more on profitability than growth,” explained Henrik Ahlers, CEO of EY Germany. “The money is no longer so loose, the demands on target companies and their financial ratios are increasing.”

According to the information, US corporations continue to dominate the ranking. As of the reporting date, the top 10 included Microsoft, the Google parent company Alphabet, Amazon, Tesla, the investment company Berkshire Hathaway, the health insurer Unitedhealth, and the pharmaceutical and consumer goods group Johnson

Nestlé top in Europe

The most valuable European company at the end of the first half of the year was the Swiss food company Nestlé in 20th place. As the highest rated German company, the software provider SAP came in 113th, and Deutsche Telekom was in 120th place.

Ahlers expects that the digitization push triggered by the corona pandemic will have a decisive impact on the economy and the stock exchanges in the years to come. Here Europe and Germany are weakly positioned. Of the 23 technology companies currently in the top 100 ranking, 17 are headquartered in North America, four in Asia and only two in Europe.

In particular, the digitization trend has reportedly caused Europe’s weight on the world stock exchanges to shrink in recent years. Before the financial crisis at the end of 2007, 46 of the 100 most valuable companies around the world were from Europe. There are now only 16. Germany’s weight has fallen significantly: At the end of 2007, seven German companies were still among the 100 most valuable, at the end of 2021 there were still two groups, and most recently no company made it into the top league.