Feb 23 (Reuters) - Chipmaker Nvidia Corp has become the world's fourth largest company by market capitalisation, after a 16.4% surge on Thursday when a quarterly earnings report surpassed analysts' expectations.

The company's market cap has swelled by $740.2 billion this year, the largest increase worldwide.

It makes Nvidia the third-largest company in the United States, outranking tech-giants Amazon.com Inc and Alphabet Inc and behind only Microsoft Corp and Apple Inc.

Globally, it is the fourth-largest, positioned behind Saudi Aramco.

As of Thursday, the company's market cap stood at $1.96 trillion, compared with $1.52 trillion at the end of January.

Nvidia shares' 58.5% jump in 2024 has been pivotal in the S&P 500's performance, contributing to more than a quarter of the index's rise this year. Analysts are monitoring whether the chipmaker will drive further gains.

The S&P 500 index achieved a record high on Thursday, reflecting a 6.65% increase this year, following a 24% surge in 2023, primarily driven by a robust rally in the technology sector.

"Leading cloud computing companies plan to boost their capital expenditures to satisfy demand for artificial intelligence training and inference, and it appears that virtually all this spending will fall into Nvidia’s pockets," said Brian Colello, a strategist at Morningstar.

"We anticipate revenue will rise by a couple of billion each quarter throughout fiscal 2025 for Nvidia as more chip supply comes online."

(Reporting By Patturaja Murugaboopathy and Gaurav Dogra in Bengaluru; editing by Barbara Lewis)