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Economy Briefs: Apple market value hits $600 billion

- - Tuesday, April 10, 2012

NEW YORK — Apple, already the world's most valuable company, hit the $600 billion level for the first time Tuesday.

Only one other company has been worth $600 billion Apple's old sparring partner, Microsoft Corp. It reached that valuation for 13 trading days around the turn of the millennium, at the peak of the technology-stock mania.

At its highest level, on Dec. 30, 1999, Microsoft's valuation was $619 billion. It's now worth $260 billion.

General Electric Co. came just short of reaching a $600 billion valuation in August 2000.

Apple shares hit $644 in morning trading, up 1.2 percent from Monday's close.

Apple's stock is up 59 percent since the start of the year, an indication that investors are catching up to what analysts have been saying for a while: Despite its enormous market capitalization, Apple's stock has been undervalued relative to its even more enormous profits.

NEW YORK

Nike, Reebok settle fight over Tebow apparel

NEW YORK — Reebok has thrown in the towel in its effort to sell New York Jets Tim Tebow jerseys and T-shirts. The terms of a settlement with Nike were disclosed Tuesday.

Reebok must eliminate from the sales chain any Tebow clothing it manufactured after the quarterback's trade last month from the Denver Broncos to the Jets.

Nike had sued in Manhattan, saying Reebok was infringing on its licensing rights.

A federal judge had said Nike Inc. was likely to succeed. Nike took over licensing rights for National Football League apparel at the beginning of April.

Nike spokeswoman Mary Remuzzi said the company is "pleased to have reached a mutually agreeable resolution."

Reebok International Ltd. did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Tenet pays $43 million to settle billing inquiry

NEW YORK — Hospital operator Tenet Healthcare Corp. has agreed to pay $42.8 million to resolve allegations it overbilled Medicare for the treatment of patients who needed intense inpatient rehabilitation.

The Dallas company said Tuesday that the settlement resolves inquiries by the Department of Justice, Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia.

The allegations involve the admission of patients at 25 facilities from May 2005 to December 2007. The Justice Department said Tenet billed Medicare for patients who did not meet the standards for admission to inpatient rehabilitation facilities. Medicare pays those facilities at a higher rate because patients require more difficult rehabilitation and more medical supervision than patients at other types of facilities.

MINNESOTA

Dunn resigns as Best Buy CEO; search begins

MINNEAPOLIS — Best Buy Co. CEO Brian Dunn has resigned from the electronics retailer.

Best Buy said Tuesday that it was a mutual decision and there were no disagreements with Mr. Dunn on any matter relating to operations, financial controls, policies or procedures. Its stock gained 52 cents, or 2.3 percent, to $23.17 in morning trading.

The announcement came a little less than two weeks after Best Buy unveiled a restructuring plan. The chain plans to close 50 of its U.S. big-box stores, open 100 small-format stores and cut $800 million in costs over the next five years.

Best Buy, whose sales have been stung by competition from online sellers such as Amazon.com, is trying to become nimbler to avoid the fate of former rival Circuit City, which filed for bankruptcy protection in 2008. Traditional electronics retailers are suffering as more people buy gadgets online or at discount stores.

Board member Mike Mikan will serve as interim CEO while the company searches for a permanent replacement. Best Buy said it already has created a search committee for identifying and choosing its new CEO.

From wire dispatches and staff reports