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Apple’s Stock Surges to $500; Market Value Near $500 Billion

Monday, 13 Feb 2012 | 9:42 AM ET

Apple, whose price hit $500 for the first time on Monday, could be the first company ever to reach a trillion dollar valuation.

The tech giant’s valuation is now nearly halfway to the 10-figure mark, with speculation Apple will launch iTV later this year driving shares to new record highs. Yet, Apple still has a way to go to become the most valuable company of all time.

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Apple shares are up more than 20 percent year to date.

And with its price now around $500, the company’s valuation is about $460 billion—roughly $8 billion more than the market caps percent of Google ($198 billion) and Microsoft ($257 billion) combined.

If Apple shares continue to hit new record levels, its market cap will reach $500 billion when the price reaches $537. Still, shares will need to rise another $100 above that level to put Apple in contention for the most expensive company ever.

According to Standard and Poor’s, ExxonMobil was the most recent company to see a valuation north of $500 billion, back in 2007 when oil prices were at record highs. (Read More: Apple Briefly Passes Exxon as World's #1 Company)

Trading High Fliers
Tony Sacconaghi, Sanford Bernstein, sheds insight on Apple stock as it gets closer to $500.

Not surprisingly, it was the Tech Bubble of the last decade that first launched companies into rarified half trillion dollar market valuations levels. Between 1999 and 2000 Intel , Cisco and General Electric all saw their valuations peak at around $500 billion. (GE is a minority shareholder in NBCUniversal)

While Microsoft may not excite investors like it did in Y2K, the software behemoth still holds the record for the most expensive valuation. Its market cap closed out 1999 at just over $600 billion according to Standard and Poor’s, before peaking north of $650 billion during the tech bubble in 2000.

The high analyst price target on the street for Apple right now is $700. At that price, its market cap will handily surpass Microsoft’s Y2K record.

The Apple TV was one of the last product initiativesspearheaded by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, before his death. If the entertainment device and platform prove as big a game changer as the company’s iTunes, iPhone and iPad, Apple shares could well continue their record run.

With its current float of about 932 million shares outstanding, Apple shares would need to top $1073 to reach the Trillion Dollar mark.

Questions? Comments? Email us at marketinsider@cnbc.com

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  • Patti Domm

    Patti Domm is CNBC Executive Editor, News, responsible for news coverage of the markets and economy.

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