'Golden' Apple Seeking First Close Over $300

Apple is seeking its first close above $300 today. October seems to welcome in Apple milestones well. Almost exactly a year ago on October 21, Apple’s stock closed above $200 for the first time. Impressively, the stock could close above $300 just a mere 8 months after its last close below $200 (February 23).

Apple Far Outpacing Other Big Techs in 2010

On the heels of introducing its much-anticipated iPad tablet in January, it has been a stellar year for Apple so far. It is one of the best-performing tech stocks in the S&P 500 this year and has far outperformed the other big tech stocks so far.

>> Dow Trivia Question: Which is the one stock that was removed from the Dow within the past 3 years that is currently up since the Dow’s historic high in October 2007?

Apple Providing Very Fruitful Gains for QQQQ Investors

More strikingly, Apple’s rise this year has made up about two-thirds of all the gains on the Nasdaq 100 Index. Remember, the Nasdaq 100 is a “modified” market cap-weighted index that currently gives Apple a whopping 20% weighting in the index. Why is that the case? Although the index’s methodology was designed to dampen the disproportionate (big) impact of Microsoft when it was such a huge stock in the 1990s, the index has not yet received a similar rebalancing to account for Apple’s exponential rise in recent years.

The bottom line for investors – if you held the popular PowerShares QQQ Trust ETF (QQQQ), much of your 10% gains this year is a direct result of Apple’s strong performance.

Market Caps vs. Revenues

Sitting at $300/share, Apple remains the 2nd biggest stock on the S&P 500. With a market cap of $27.5 billion, it’s still about $5.5 billion behind ExxonMobil and nearly $6 billion bigger than the index’s 3rd biggest stock, Microsoft. However, take a look at some interesting valuations, as pointed out by our Bertha Coombs:

  • IBM (which is sitting at its own historic high) has a market cap of $178 billion, nearly $100 billion less than Apple. Yet, it is expected to pull in 28% more revenues than Apple next year (2011 revenue estimates: $102 billion for IBM vs. $80 billion for Apple)
  • Apple could pass ExxonMobil as the biggest U.S. stock within the next several months if shares continue to appreciate. Despite the similar market caps, ExxonMobil is expected to generate $420 billion in revenues next year – more than 4 times those of Apple

Historic market cap growth details

  • On October 31, 2008, Apple was the seventeenth largest company in the S&P, with a market cap of $93.7 billion, by Dec, 2008 Apple's market cap fell to $76.87B
  • In February, 2009, Apple was still in 17th place by market cap in the S&P
  • By May, 2009, Apple was the 2nd largest market cap gainer by $ amount in the S&P 500, gaining 56.16% in market cap the first 5 months of 2009
  • By December 2009, Apple's market cap increased by $114 billion to $189.8B, an increase of 150.2%, from December 2008 levels
  • Apple's current market cap stands at $275 billion, posting an increase of 45% or $85B so far in 2010

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