The race for $2-trillion is on. Alphabet, the parent of Google, is poised to scale the $1-trillion market capitalisation number any day now. Its shares are already up 7% in 2020 and 34% since the start of 2019. It would be the fourth company to hit the trillion-dollar milestone after Apple, Microsoft and Amazon. But their products, business models and threats differ. So do their chances of doubling their equity market values.

At the beginning of 2015 the consensus five-year earnings per share growth for Alphabet was 18%. That figure today has dropped to 15%. But even as that growth rate moderated, Alphabet’s valuation has exploded. Its forward price-to-earnings ratio is now a whopping 28 times, compared with just 18 times a half decade ago. Still, that 50% hike is lower than the jump for Apple and Microsoft. Apple’s multiple of 23 times lags behind the bunch but is up 64%. Both figures are astounding for a hardware maker prone to product cycles.

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