Two years ago Apple's market cap was $700 billion. Now, it's finally back

Too late to buy Apple?

Apple has reclaimed its throne as the only $700 billion publicly-traded U.S. company.

Hitting a market capitalization of around $701 billion on Monday, Apple briefly crested the $700-billion level it last broke in February 2015. Apple swelled to near $770 billion in 2015, after shares hit an all-time intraday high of $134.54 a share in April 2015.

But in the 2016 fiscal year, Apple posted its first yearly revenue decline in 2001, as iPhone sales slumped from the year-ago period and revenue tumbled in China. By February 2016, Google-parent Alphabet briefly passed Apple to become the most valuable U.S.-listed company, at $547.1 billion.

To be sure, Apple was still one of the most successful American companies ever during that time period, especially to those that remember Apple's 1982 record low of 20 cents per share. Apple has added unrelentingly to its $246 billion mountain of cash.

Apple has $246 billion. Who should they buy?

In a January earnings report , Apple returned to revenue growth, nudged along by more expensive new iPhone models. That helped the Cupertino company gain favor on Wall Street, with analysts at Goldman Sachs and UBS sharing positive outlooks on Monday, in anticipation of an iPhone "supercycle" this fall.

Apple's also been lifted by a rising tide. U.S. markets hit a record high across the board on Monday, pushing Apple within $1 of a new all-time intraday share price.

Despite nearing record-high share prices, Apple isn't quite as close to beating its all-time high market capitalization, since market value is determined by stock price multiplied by shares outstanding. Apple currently has 5.26 million shares outstanding, compared to the 5.76 million shares outstanding they had in March 2015, according to Factset, as the company has approved share repurchases .

Source: Factset