YORK — Apple's shares topped $300 for the first time in the company's
history Wednesday as stellar iPad sales and a planned expansion into
China gave investors all the assurance they needed for the iPhone
maker's already- healthy prospects.
Shares closed up $1.60 at $300.14 after rising to a record $301.96
earlier. That gives Apple a market capitalization of about $273 billion,
having long surpassed such tech heavyweights as Microsoft, Google and
IBM, which also hit a record Wednesday.
In fact, Apple's market cap trails only Exxon Mobil's among U.S.
publicly traded companies. Exxon's market cap hovers around $330
billion. Big-name corporations such as Wal-Mart — which will sell
iPhones and iPads in some of
its Sam's Clubs by Christmas — and General Electric
don't even come close.
Apple, which reports fiscal fourth- quarter earnings Monday, has been
on a tear lately, with sales of the iPad tablet surpassing
expectations. Investors also have high hopes for Apple's push to open 25
retail stores in China next year.
Mounting speculation about a Verizon iPhone as soon as 2011 is also adding to Apple's appeal.
Currently, the iPhone is available only from AT&T in the U.S. The Associated Press