$AAPL Hits 19-Month High on Home Automation Report

Shares of Apple Inc. rallied to a 19-month high on Tuesday. Investors were cheered by a report from The Financial Times that said the company would launch a home automation platform at next month's World Wide Developer Conference. $AAPL closed at US$625.63 per share, a gain of $11.50 (+1.87 percent), on heavy volume of 12.4 million shares trading hands.

Apple last closed above this mark on October 22nd, 2012, at $634.03, the middle of a long decrease off of Apple's all-time closing high of $702.10 on September 19th, 2012. That retreat troughed in April 19th, 2013, when the stock closed at $390.53.

AAPL Chart

Chart Courtesy of Yahoo! Finance, Numbers by TMO

For the numberholics, $AAPL is up 60.2 percent in the 13 months since hitting that low, but is still off 10.9 percent from its all-time high.

Other factors involved in Apple's recent rally include a 7-for-1 stock split planned for June 2nd and tens of billions of dollars in stock buybacks and dividend that has been repeatedly increased. While the stock split has no direct effect on Apple's valuation, it appears to have fueled renewed interest in the stock. The stock buyback, on the other hand, has removed millions of shares from the market, helping to increase the value of the shares that remain.

Before the stock buybacks began, Apple has almost a billion shares outstanding. As of the close of Tuesday trading, there are 861.4 million shares outstanding. That gives Apple a market capitalization (market cap) of $538.9 billion, keeping Apple as the most valuable company on the planet.

*In the interest of full disclosure, the author holds a tiny, almost insignificant share in AAPL stock that was not an influence in the creation of this article.