First significant decline since crisis as 4pc wiped off world's top 100 companies
The value of the world's 100 biggest companies fell by 4pc over the last year in the first significant decline since the financial crisis, according to PwC.
Tumultuous markets in China and weak economic growth across Europe helped to wipe $668bn off the market cap of the Global Top 100 ranking in the year to the end of March, bringing the value of the index to $15.58 trillion.
US companies now fill all top 10 positions on the list. Its 54 businesses in the 100-strong ranking account for 62pc of the index's worth, up from 57pc last year, after gaining $314bn in value to $9.64 trillion.
Californian behemoth Apple topped the list for the fifth year running, closely followed by Alphabet and Microsoft, as technology companies overtook the financial services sector for the first time.
Europe's contribution fell to less than a fifth of the total value after two companies dropped out of the top 100, leaving its 24 remaining members with a total market cap just shy of $3 trillion, a drop of 12.5pc over the year.
More than 20pc was knocked off the value of China and Hong Kong's companies following the sell-off in Shanghai-traded stocks, bringing the market caps of its 11 businesses in the top 100 to $1.78 trillion.
The UK held its position in third place, behind the US and China, with seven companies in the top 100, despite losing $49bn in value to $805bn. Germany followed with five, while France and Japan had four each.
Although the analysis covers the year to March 31, PwC said there has been "very little change with only a slight downward movement" since the results of the EU referendum.
“The US has extended its leading position by using its global reach, financial strength and ability to innovate to its advantage," said Clifford Tompsett, head of the IPO Centre at PwC.
"We can also see that bigger companies have proven more resilient than average, with the exception of some natural resources companies, as despite uncertain market conditions and growth perspectives, 91 companies from 2015 remained on the list as of at 31 March 2016 – a stable level compared to previous years."