* Apple sets new market value record, edges past Microsoft
(Adds analysts' comments, historical share details)
By Edward Krudy
NEW YORK, Aug 20 Apple Inc (AAPL.O) became the
most valuable public company of all time on Monday, after its
market value climbed beyond $620 billion to surpass a milestone
set by Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) more than a decade ago.
Its shares were up 2.3 percent at $662.73 in afternoon
trade, after having gained more than 8 percent this month as
Wall Street bets on the Sept. 12 rollout of the latest version
of the iPhone, the device that revolutionized the mobile
Apple shares reached a high of $664.74 in the morning,
giving them a value of $623.14 billion. They edged past the
record of $620.58 billion set by Microsoft in 1999 at the height
of the tech bubble, according to data provided by S&P Dow Jones
Indices. The data, however, did not take into account the impact
Apple's climb came at the same time fellow technology
heavyweight Facebook Inc (FB.O) plumbed new depths. The No. 1
social network slid to a record intraday low of $18.75 in the
morning before bouncing back to trade around $20 after Capstone
upgraded the company’s stock to buy from hold on Monday.
Apple's stock usually rallies in the runup to major product
launches, among the most heavily watched events on the annual
tech calendar. The iPhone is the company's biggest product,
yielding half or more of its sales.
Sources have said the company will take the wraps off a
larger version of its iPhone on Sept. 12. Some analysts also
think it intends to announce a smaller version of its iPad, to
safeguard its market share, as rivals from Google Inc (GOOG.O)
to Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) begin selling cheaper, seven-inch
But Bernstein Research's Toni Sacconaghi warned that
questions remained about the availability of components for both
the iPhone and the iPad, which in the past has constrained
Apple's product shipments.
"A key question for the launch will be Apple's expected
rollout schedule," the analyst wrote on Monday. "Apple's
intention is to continue to ramp offerings as quickly as
possible, but the company's ability to do so remains a key
Apple became the biggest public company in the world when it
overtook Exxon Mobil (XOM.N) to reach the No. 1 spot last year.
Monday's move means it has now entered the record books as the
biggest company ever.
At Monday's close, its shares need to settle at $657.50 for
the record to be set on a closing basis as well, according to
S&P Dow Jones indices. The shares traded at $662.73 at 3 p.m.
EDT (1719 GMT).
"Everyone loves a winner; if you play the quick trade be
careful," said Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at S&P
Dow Jones Indices in emailed comments. "If you are an investor,
check the fundamentals and business plans, and avoid the hype in
Facebook's stock has gone the opposite direction in the past
month, the butt of concerns about the company's ability to make
revenue grow. Last week, some early investors were given the
go-ahead to sell for the first time since Facebook's May 18 IPO.
Several similar "lockups" will expire through to the end of the
It was back up above $20 in afternoon trade after Capstone's
upgrade, based on a combination of a more attractive valuation
since its decline, and good long-term advertising prospects.
"It seems to be down around levels that people who didn't
like the deal thought it was really worth. And now it seems to
have stabilized," sad Eric Kuby, chief investment officer, North
Star Investment Management Corp in Chicago.
It may have "found a level which seems more of a better
price for people valuing the company in terms of the future."
(Reporting by Edward Krudy; Editing by Kenneth Barry and Steve
((firstname.lastname@example.org; 1 646 223-6314))
Keywords: APPLE VALUATION/MARKET RECORD
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