Apple Inc. (AAPL), a week after reporting record sales and profit, surpassed $400 a share for the first time and is gaining ground on Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) to become the world’s most valuable company.
The shares rose $4.91 to $403.41 in Nasdaq Stock Market trading. Apple has climbed 25 percent this year and 7 percent since the company reported third-quarter results on July 19.
Apple, on the brink of bankruptcy when Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs reclaimed the top job more than a decade ago, now has a bigger market value than Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and Intel Corp. (INTC) combined, fueled by new products such as the iPhone and iPad. Shares are up from a stock-adjusted $5.48 on Sept. 16, 1997, the day Jobs returned after his 1985 ouster.
“It started with the Mac, then iPods, iPhones and now the iPad,” said Giri Cherukuri, head trader for Oakbrook Investments, which manages $2.7 billion, including Apple shares. “It’s incredible.”
The stock price gives Cupertino, California-based Apple a market capitalization of about $374 billion, trailing by $41.6 billion the $416 billion value of Irving, Texas-based Exxon.
Apple’s iPhone-fueled rise comes amid a reversal of fortunes for rival makers of smartphones such as Research In Motion Ltd. (RIMM) and Nokia Oyj, which have lost market share and fired workers. Yesterday, RIM announced plans to cut 2,000 jobs amid slowing sales. In April, Nokia said it would eliminate 7,000 jobs.
Apple last week said profit more than doubled to $7.31 billion on revenue of $28.6 billion, compared with the same period a year earlier. The company had record sales of iPhones and iPads, products that didn’t exist five years ago and now account for more than 70 percent of revenue. Apple also has accumulated $76.2 billion in cash and other holdings.
“I don’t see too much slowing them down,” Cherukuri said.
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