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Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is now the world’s most valuable company ever, with a surging stock putting the iPhone maker’s intraday market capitalization at $623.1 billion on Monday. Apple beat the peak of $620.6 billion set by Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) on December 30, 1999, according to data from S&P Dow Jones Indices. Having touched a new record of $664.85 per share, Apple’s stock fell slightly to $662, but was still $15.82, or 2.46 percent, higher than Friday’s close.
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Apple has been the world’s most valuable company since the end of last year and is now worth 53 percent more than No. 2 Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM). Microsoft still remains close to the top with its $257 billion, and along with Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) and IBM (NYSE:IBM), rounds out the top five.
China’s largest oil company, PetroChina (NYSE:PTR), was briefly worth $1 trillion after it listed on the Shanghai stock exchange in 2007. However, that valuation was only based on its price on that exchange. If its shares in Hong Kong and the New York Stock Exchange are taken into account, PetroChina’s market capitalization never went as high as $500 billion.
The recent rise in Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) stock has been attributed to the general feeling that the company is close to launch the next-generation iPhone 5, and possibly a smaller iPad. Then last week, market research firm Jefferies increased its price target on Apple to $900, giving it another big push. According to analysts at FBR Capital Markets, the next iPhone “could be the most impactful product upgrade in Apple’s history.”
Most analysts believe Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) stock has room to grow, with the average price target of 38 analysts polled by FactSet coming at $745.80.
However, if inflation is taken into account, Microsoft still holds the record. In 2012 dollars, the Windows maker’s all-time-high would have amounted to $851 billion.
Shares of Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) were trading at $663.09 as of 3:42 pm EST Monday.
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