Apple moves ahead of Exxon again
Apple is the most valuable company after shares jump more than 19% since mid-April. The catalyst: the company's decision to boost its dividend 15% and buy back billions of dollars in shares.
Apple has rallied some 19% from its intraday low of $385.10 on April 19 and was trading at $461.36 at 3:34 p.m. ET on Monday.
It also has reclaimed its spot as the world's most valuable company with a market capitalization of $433.7 billion, compared with Exxon Mobil's (XOM) $402.7 billion. Exxon was up 59 cents to $90.61.
The Apple resurgence comes despite near constant criticism that the company has lost its momentum, that Samsung's smart phones are overtaking the iPhone world-wide and that the market for tablets has become more crowded; not a good thing for the iPad.
Much of the gain comes because Apple's board decided to return $100 billion to shareholders by 2015. The company sold a wildly oversubscribed series of bonds last week. It boosted its quarterly dividend 15% to $3.05, payable on May 16.
It can be argued -- and should be argued -- that Apple shares, which hit $705 in September, may be overbought yet one more time. Its relative strength index was 90 on Monday. A reading above 70 suggests a stock is overbought.
But Apple isn't alone among tech stocks in seeing its shares rally. Technology was the market's leading sector last week as the Dow Jones industrials ($INDU) and Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) set new records -- and the Nasdaq Composite Index ($COMPX) and Nasdaq-100 Index ($NDX) both hit 12-and-a-half year highs.
The Nasdaq-100 is up 7.8% since April 18.
Google (GOOG) topped $850 for the first time ever on Monday and was trading at $858.15, up $12.43. The shares are up 21% this year, and, yes, its relative strength index is above 70.
And Microsoft (MSFT), up 33 cents to $33.82 on Monday, was sporting an RSI above 85. The stock also hit a 52-week high of $33.91. (Microsoft owns and publishes MoneyNOW, an MSN Money site.)
Also hitting 52-week highs on Monday: Texas Instruments (TXN), Western Digital (WDC) and Corning (GLW).
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Apple's rise to the top is indicative of its continued success as a truly innovative company. And while there is no replacement for the late Steve Jobs, there is much to be said about the enormous range of creative minds and talents in its people that affords Apple with this recent spurt to the top. That said, it is game on for both Apple and Samsumg because the real winners are consumers! Game on!
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An interest rate tease in The Wall Street Journal sends the market into an optimistic tizzy -- but one that doesn't end quite at the top.
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