US consumer electronics giant Apple is now worth over $600 billion. Already the world's most valuable company, it reached a new all-time high in early trade on Tuesday, and an end to the rise is not in sight.
Apple continued its success story on Tuesday by crashing through the $600-billion (459 billion-euro) barrier for the first time in its history.
Company shares hit $644 a piece in early trading, up 1.2 percent from Monday's close. Apple stocks have thus risen by a staggering 59 percent since the start of the year. Analysts have interpreted the continued rally as a sign that stocks have been undervalued relative to the company's even more enormous profits.
The most recent increase in share value has been fueled by reports of another successful quarter and announcements that Apple will start putting its $97.6-billion cash hoard to use this summer by paying a dividend and buying back a considerable amount of shares.
More to come
Despite breaking new records almost every month, Apple's outlook remains splendid, with rumors that the firm will soon start selling the iPhone through China Mobile, that country's biggest phone company.
Brian White, a leading analyst with Topeka Capital Markets was the first to talk about a stock price target of $800, with a goal of over $1,000 per share.
But Tuesday's new record was impressive in itself. Only Apple's long-standing rival, Microsoft, was once worth more than $600 billion at the peak of the technology stock mania.
At its highest level - on December 30, 1999 - Microsoft's valuation was $619 billion.
The Redmond-based software giant managed to stay above the $600-billion mark for 13 trading days. Today, the company is worth only $260 billion.
hg/bk (AP, dapd)