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Microsoft loses No. 2 ranking in market value to drug maker

Microsoft has lost its status as the world's second-largest corporation to drug maker Pfizer due to slowing sales growth that caused it to miss out on this year's stock-market rally.

Pfizer's market value (stock price times number of outstanding shares) has jumped to $284.6 billion, up 17.9 percent in 2003.

Chief Executive Officer Henry McKinnell kept the company's sales growing faster than the pharmaceutical industry's average by snapping up rights to new products and buying rivals.

Microsoft's market value has held around $279.9 billion. Both Microsoft and Pfizer trail General Electric, with a $307.1 billion value.

Microsoft slipped from its No. 2 perch as computer-related shares soared. An index of computer companies in the Standard & Poor's 500 Index has climbed 23 percent this year, while shares of Microsoft have gained just 0.9 percent, the sixth-worst-performing stock among the 83 members of the technology index.

News source: The Seattle Times

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