BERLIN, July 2 (Xinhua) — The stock market value of the world’s 100 largest publicly traded companies rose by 17 percent in the first six months (H1) of 2024, reaching a record high of 42.3 trillion U.S. dollars, according to a study published by consulting firm Ernst and Young (EY) on Tuesday.

The study highlighted a “record chase” on stock markets, driven primarily by companies in the technology sector benefiting from the boom of artificial intelligence (AI).

“Artificial intelligence is a megatrend that is leading to a reorganization of the business world at breathtaking speed, fueling the imagination of investors and stock market prices,” said Henrik Ahlers, chairman of EY’s management board.

The report also indicated that eight of the ten most valuable companies are headquartered in the United States, with most operating digital business models.

U.S. technology company Microsoft leads the top ten ranking with a value of 3.32 trillion U.S. dollars, surpassing the combined market capitalization of Germany’s blue-chip DAX companies, which totaled 1.87 trillion U.S. dollars at the end of June.

Apple, which topped the rankings at the end of 2023, fell to second place, followed by Nvidia, whose market value surged nearly 150 percent in H1.

The top ten also includes non-U.S. companies Saudi Aramco, which dropped from third to sixth place, and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, ranking tenth.

Europe, however, continues to struggle to benefit from the AI boom. Only 19 of the world’s 100 most valuable companies are headquartered in Europe, compared to 46 in 2007 before the financial crisis. The most valuable company is the Danish pharmaceutical group Novo Nordisk, ranked twelfth.

Ahlers noted that in the past two decades, Europe has seen a steady decline in housing tech giants compared to the United States. He added that since most of Europe’s top companies are not in the tech sector, it is unlikely that the continent will reverse this trend in the coming years.