Apple Once Again World’s Most Valuable Company

The Wednesday morning surge in Apple’s stock price, which hovered around the US$450 mark during the first few hours of trading, catapulted the company ahead of Exxon Mobil and into first place as the world’s most valuable company. The Wall Street Journal noted that the jump in AAPL shares put Apple’s market value at $416.7 billion, just ahead of Exxon Mobil’s $413 billion.

Many analysts have raised their target prices of Apple’s stock close to $700, including Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster, who pegged his at $670 and said: “Investors are missing the potential long-term upside of Apple’s current market expansion and future upgrade cycles.”

Apple’s war chest is closing in on $100 billion, and BMO Capital Markets analyst Keith Bachman said that even a 2 percent dividend would still enable the company to have $165-170 billion available by the end of its 2013 fiscal year, which concludes Sept. 30, 2013.

Mr. Bachman was quoted as saying: “Importantly, we believe that by paying a dividend, Apple could open up the stock to a new class of shareholders. Net, we believe either a stock buyback or dividend would not impact Apple’s cash balance, but would benefit the stock’s multiple.”