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Apple tops $800-bn market cap, looks set to cross $1-trillion mark

10 May 2017

Tim Cook Apple Inc, the maker of iPhones and iPads, shot into a record $800-billion market cap on Tuesday, becoming the first US company to do so and taking a 4 per cent share of the $21.7-trillion market cap of the entire S&P 500 index.

Apple, which crossed the $700 billion market cap a little more than two years ago, saw its shares gain 33 per cent this year and almost 50 per cent since President Donald Trump's election win in November.

Apple accounted for as much as 4.9 per cent of the S&P 500 in September 2012, but is a smaller precentage now as the index has rallied more than 7 per cent this year.

Apple, perhaps the most profitable company in the world, has a limited number of products to offer, but that franchise is very powerful as is reflected in its rising market cap.

The company's market performance owes to its ability to retain profitability margins and dominate the market despite a limited number of products and numerous competitors.

The spike in share prices comes after Apple experienced its first-ever dip in sales - by nearly one per cent - last quarter, thus also plunging its revenues for the first time since 2001.

CEO Tim Cook attributed the fall to hearsay about the iPhone's future build that has superior features, which discouraged customers from buying their latest launch in anticipation of an even better model.

The iPhone 8, expected to launch in the fall, however, does reportedly have significant updates.

The company has also effectively used buybacks to bolster its shares. Apple has reduced the actual number of its floating share count by 20.9 per cent and that of the average diluted shares outstanding by 20.5 per cent over the past four years, according to Standard & Poor's data.

If Apple manages to extend its growth path, the company will top the $1-trillion market cap level later this year, say analysts.

Apple shared closed at $153.99 on Tuesday, taking the closing market cap to $802.8 billion, which was larger than the economies of 45 of the 50 US states, except for Illinois, Florida, New York, Texas and California.

Traders expect the median price target on Apple to be $160, up from the $140 three months ago.

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