Apple's stock hits new milestone, breaks $500 level

(AP Photo/Eric Risberg, file)
February 13, 2012 9:21:23 PM PST
Apple is now the most valuable company on the planet. Silicon Valley's hottest company is doing it again on Monday, setting a new stock market milestone. Apple stock was up 9-points, closing for the first time above $500 a share. A lot of people still see the stock going even higher.

In 1997 Apple stock was worth as little as $3.19 and the company was facing the possibility of bankruptcy. Now a share of stock is worth over $500 for the first time ever.

It may be raining, but people who own apple stock are smiling and even laughing.

"I believe it was $15 at the time," said Ann Ozer, an Apple stockholder.

At $502 Apple stock is setting a new record and still giving financial advisors reasons to like it.

"What I am more interested in is the quality of Apple's earnings compared to its current price and from that standpoint it's still relatively well valued company," said David Amann, a Edward Jones Financial advisor.

With the popularity of iPads and iPhones, Apple's revenues are up 73 percent from a year ago. And the soaring stock price is reflecting that phenomenal growth, up 40 percent since last February and gaining nearly 500 percent from five years ago. Today, you could say, people have non-buyer's remorse.

"I wish I'd bought the stock at $300, I wish I bought it at $400," said Howard Paul of Palo Alto.

Apple has trounced Exxon Mobile as the most valuable company in the world with its market value now worth 17 percent more than Exxon's.

"Apple clearly has a halo around it. There is a huge interest in Apple, but when they screw up, they also get a lot of publicity about their screw ups," said technology analyst Larry Magid.

One of those bruises comes from working conditions in China where Apple products are made. Apple announced Monday it asked the Fair Labor Association to start conducting special voluntary audits of assembly suppliers and that news brought demonstrators to the Palo Alto store.

"Maybe they are responding to public outcry, but we don't want the public to forget and we don't want Apple to forget because they've made a start, but it's kind of in their best interest to do this," said Ruth Robertson from the group Raging Grannies.

As the stock climbs though, even Apple's clouds have a silver lining.

"Over the next quarter, I can see it going to $600, even after that. I think I am going to buy for sure," said Paul Singh of Palo Alto.

A new iPad product is expected out early next month and then later this year a new iPhone. Many analysts say that Apple's evaluation could hit $500 billion very soon.

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