Apple Stock Price Hits Record

Apple Inc. (AAPL), maker of the iPhone and Macintosh computer, climbed to a record $211.61 on the Nasdaq Stock Market today, following a report that sales of its devices may have surged over the Christmas holiday.

Apple rose $2.57, or 1.2 percent, marking the sixth straight day of increases. The shares have more than doubled this year, compared with a 61 percent rise for the S&P 500 information-technology index.

Software downloads for Apple's devices grew 51 percent in December from the previous month, according to research firm Flurry Inc. That signals that sales of the iPhone and iPod Touch jumped during the holiday season. The iPhone has less than 1 percent of the total global market, giving it plenty of room to grow, said Brian Marshall, an analyst at Broadpoint AmTech Inc. in San Francisco.

"Despite the enormous success of the iPhone since inception in July '07, we strongly believe the device is still in its infancy," he said today in a report. Marshall, who recommends buying Apple stock, expects the shares to reach $260 within the next year.

Apple, based in Cupertino, California, offers more than 100,000 applications on its iTunes online store, giving its phones and media players an edge over rivals. Google Inc., whose Android operating system runs phones made by Motorola Inc. (MOT) and HTC Corp., has about 12,000 applications.

'Staggering Rates'"Apple downloads continue to grow at staggering rates," said Peter Farago, a spokesman for San Francisco-based Flurry. "IPod Touch devices must have flooded the market over Christmas."

The 51 percent increase in downloads compares with 22 percent for Android, Flurry said. Downloads for the iPod Touch, a device that offers many of the iPhone's features without the phone, soared more than 1,000 percent on Christmas Day, compared with previous Fridays in December.

The download volume for Apple is more than 13 times larger than for Android, according to Flurry data. Android application downloads increased 93 percent on Christmas Day.

Google (GOOG), based in Mountain View, California, rose $4.39 to $622.87 on the Nasdaq. The shares have doubled this year.

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