Apple: The Whole Wide World in Our Hands

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Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) market capitalization has surpassed the $500 billion mark — a mark that no company has seen since before the recession. Apple is one of only a handful of companies to be valued that highly, and is currently the world’s most valuable business.

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The company’s market value was grew to $505.8 billion in late morning trading as shares rose 1.3 percent to $542.44. Apple shares are up 34 percent in 2012, and the company is worth $93.4 more than the world’s second-most-valuable business, ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM).

In 2008, ExxonMobil was the last U.S. company to be valued at $500 billion, and currently trades at $413.3 billion. In 2000, Cisco’s (NASDAQ:CSCO) market cap approached $500 billion, but tumbled to $108.7 billion when the tech bubble burst.

Posting a net income of $13.1 billion last quarter, Apple is cementing itself as a sales leader and paving the way towards where the markets are going. With the release of the iPad 3 expected next week and a new iPhone likely to arrive by the third quarter, investors are expecting the positive trend to continue.

The high demand for Apple products has helped the company to increase profit more rapidly than its stock price, allowing for a favorable price-to-earnings ratio. Several analysts are signaling that a company dividend will be announced this year, which is also expected to increase Apple sales.

Apple has maintained its growth despite Steve Jobs’s death in October, and shares are actually up about 70 percent since then.  The iPhone alone has brought in revenue that has exceeded net income at both Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) and Apple’s biggest rival in the smartphone market, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG). Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said recently he is looking to add mobile carriers for the iPhone in China in an attempt to give Apple room to grow overseas.

With the unveiling of the iPad 3 and Apple TV set-top box on March 7, a new iPhone to be released in the third quarter, and rumors of a dividend, it certainly seems like Apple is on top of the world, and has no plans to give up the view.

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To contact the reporter on this story: Diallah Haidar at staff.writers@wallstcheatsheet.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at editors@wallstcheatsheet.com

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