Apple stock hits record $300

The Verizon iPhone and the iPad invasion have given investors more reason to pile into AAPL.

By TheStreet Staff Oct 13, 2010 10:22AM

the streetBy Scott Moritz, TheStreet

 

Gadget-maker with the hottest hand, Apple (AAPL) passed the $300 a share milepost early Wednesday.

 

Rising $2.61 to $301.15 in Wednesday morning trading puts Apple's market capitalization at $275 billion, second only to Exxon Mobil's (XOM) $315 billion value, as the largest U.S. companies by stock value.

 

Apple's gains have pushed the company past Microsoft (MSFT), which is a distant second in the tech sector at $214 billion. (Microsoft owns and publishes MSN Money.)

 

The stock's strength, on a steady string of all-time highs, has gained momentum in recent days on a bounty of positive developments. This week, the nation's largest retailer, Wal-Mart (WMT), said it will start selling the iPad. On Tuesday, Intel (INTC) praised Apple's successful reinvention of the tablet device, an odd gesture since Intel chips have been omitted from the iPad.

But probably the biggest fuel to the Apple fire is the looming arrival of the Verizon (VZ) iPhone early next year. According to new Morgan Stanley estimates Wednesday, Apple is likely to sell an additional 8 million iPhones a year at Verizon, the No. 1 wireless service.

 

As far as valuation, Apple has yet to conquer some of its more richly appraised tech peers. Apple ranks third in tech for projected earnings growth, or so-called multiple, a measure of how much investors are willing to pay for future earnings.

 

Apple's forward price-to-earnings ratio, or value of the current stock to the year-ahead earnings target, is 16.69. Meanwhile, search giant Google (GOOG) has a price-to-earnings ratio of 17.29, and wireless chip shop Qualcomm (QCOM) is the most treasured of the bunch, with a P/E of 17.5.

 

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