New York: Technology giant Apple on Wednesday briefly displaced energy major Exxon Mobil to become the country's most valuable company.

 For several trading hours, the Steve Jobs-led maker of iPhones and iPads was on top of the stock market charts, surpassing Exxon. However, by the close of trade, Exxon was back to its numero uno position.

Apple's market valuation was trailing Exxon by only about USD 2 billion.

 At the end of regular trading, Apple shares closed at USD 374.01 dollars, up 5.89 per cent, to take its market valuation to USD 346.74 billion.

Exxon Mobil closed at USD 71.64, up 2.07 per cent, with a market capitalisation of only USD 1.58 billion dollars more at USD 348.32 billion, the New York Times reported.

During the day's seesaw trading, Apple's market cap surpassed Exxon Mobil by as much as USD 7 billion.

The report said analysts expect Apple and Exxon Mobil to "continue jockeying for the top slot while the markets remain volatile." Apple had peaked at USD 403.41 a share on July 26.

Exxon had hit a 52-week high of USD 87.98 on April 29.

The change in market valuation has more to do with the falling price of oil than with the popularity of Apple's electronics, the report added.

"Clearly, the oil market has declined substantially over the past 10 days due to the debt crisis and the cost of oil," the report quoted Andrew Lipow, the head of a consulting firm, as saying.

"However, we are sure to see Exxon bounce back and forth," Lipow said, adding that if the price of oil bounced back, Exxon's stock would firmly reclaim the top spot.

The report said, "For Apple to continue its success, they will need to leap ahead of their own innovation and design approach before their competitors, including Google and
Amazon, close the gap on smart phones and tablets."