Apple inches toward yet another record … Again

Reported by Motley Fool Staff
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
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Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) is just full of milestones these days. It seems the Cupertino Colossus spits one out every few weeks. Last night’s milestone: briefly topping US$600 billion in market cap.

Thanks to its intraday high of more than $644 before pulling back a little, the Mac maker was able to cross that threshold shortly, hitting a new all-time high after hitting one just yesterday.

Let’s quickly revisit some of the other notable events that the Mac maker saw over the past few months.

  • Jan. 19 – US$400 billion market cap.
  • Jan. 25 – Record first quarter earnings: US$46.33 billion in sales, US$13 billion in net income, 37 million iPhones sold, and 15.4 million iPads sold.
  • Feb. 9 – US$500 share price.
  • Feb. 29 – US$500 billion market cap.
  • March 7 – Third-generation iPad unveiled.
  • March 15 — US$600 share price.
  • March 21 – 3 million third-generation iPads sold over launch weekend.
  • Today — US$600 billion market cap.

That’s a jam-packed quarter that would keep anyone busy. Apple shares have since pulled back and ended in the red, along with just about everything else overnight. However, the company is on the verge of pushing into uncharted territory and topping longtime rival Microsoft‘s (Nasdaq: MSFT) record market cap of US$619 billion in December 1999.

The difference is that Microsoft’s record was at the height of the tech bubble and shares traded as high as nearly 73 times earnings at the time, compared with Apple’s current P/E of just 18. That’s a big discrepancy in valuation, and it shows that Apple’s recent run is certainly more justified than Microsoft’s was more than 12 years ago.

Apple doesn’t look as if it will be passing the market crown back to ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM) anytime soon, as the oil giant’s market cap now trails at US$395 billion. Main mobile rival Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) can’t compete in this race, either, with its US$205 billion market cap.

There doesn’t seem to be an end in sight, as Street analysts now have price targets as high as $910$960, or $1,001, among others.

Are there still any trillion-dollar sceptics out there?

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This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

A version of this article was originally published on fool.com

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