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Apple Valuation Tops $500 Billion as Company Readies IPad 3

Apple Inc.’s market capitalization topped $500 billion for the first time, cementing its lead as the world’s most valuable business and reaching heights not seen by any company since the last recession.

The shares gained 1.3 percent to $542.44 today, bringing its market value to $505.8 billion. Apple has risen 34 percent in 2012, following gains in each of the past three years. The company is worth $98.1 billion more than the world’s second-most-valuable business, Exxon Mobil Corp.