Apple shares top $500
Investors have rewarded the stock after a first-quarter earnings report that blew away just about everyone.
Apple (AAPL) shares surpassed $500 for the first time Monday to close at $502.60, and analysts said $600 is an easy target as the company continues to excite investors with new products and more acceptance in the workplace.
The stock has been on the march since Apple reported a jaw-dropping first quarter, blowing away expectations with $13.1 billion in profit and sales of $46.3 billion. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) was suffering from a 4.2% drop in earnings for the last quarter of 2011, but Apple singlehandedly turned that decline into a 4.4% gain, Bloomberg reports.
Investors rewarded Apple for the performance, sending shares up 17% since then. Apple's market value is now around $469 billion, firmly ahead of Exxon Mobil's (XOM) $405 billion, to become the most valuable company in the world. The two companies have been at it for months, taking turns in the most-valuable spot.
But could Apple shares truly go even higher?
Analysts seem to think so, saying the company is outperforming on just about every level. They are closely watching an increased use of Apple products in the workplace, for example. Nearly all companies in the Fortune 500 are testing or have adapted Apple's products for employees. The United States Air Force recently said it may buy up to 18,000 iPads to replace the 40-pound bag of manuals, charts and other documents that flight crews use.
Watch a discussion about Apple's presence in the workplace in the following video.
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Investors are also enthusiastic about the number of new products thought to be on the way from Apple. A new version of the wildly popular iPad is expected this year, and the iPad still maintains a its lead in the tablet market.
A new iPhone is also expected this summer, and unlike the most recent release, the iPhone 4S, the new one is expected to be much more than just a simple upgrade over previous versions.
Finally, Apple is widely thought to be developing a new television set that uses its own operating system. The new Apple TV may use the voice-recognition software, Siri, that quickly became one of the most notable features in the iPhone 4S.
Analysts have been rushing to come up with new price targets after the stock's recent explosion. Many now think $600 is an easy reach within the next year, and the one who might have called the $500 target the earliest -- Daniel Ernst from Hudson Square Research -- now thinks the stock could hit $700, Fortune reports.
One year ago, Apple shares were at $356.85. What an incredible streak for the company -- and its investors.
Without Jobs creating new products will see where Apple goes.... right now there still profiting from products that Jobs was involved in.
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3 stocks will be in the spotlight Thursday as investors try to make sense of the numbers from the sector.
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