Recent Apple stock surge tops Microsoft’s record

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Analysts also speculate that a “mini iPad,” could expand the number of people who can afford one of Apple’s tablets. The cheapest iPad cost $399, compared to $199 for the latest Google and Amazon tablets.

Rumors are also swirling that Apple plans to make a TV set to complete its suite of consumer electronics products.

Apple usually doesn’t comment on its future product plans until a few weeks or days before a launch.

Apple’s stock surge has made it a major part of many investment portfolios, often without the investors realizing it. The company makes up 4.7 percent of the value of the S&P 500 index, which is used as the basis for many mutual funds.

Figures supplied by FactSet imply Microsoft’s market capitalization record was $619.25 billion, somewhat lower than the $620.58 billion calculated by S&P. The difference lies in the number of outstanding shares the firms ascribe to Microsoft at the time.

China’s largest oil company, PetroChina, could lay claim to having hit a market capitalization even higher than Apple’s, because of the particularities of the Chinese stock market.

PetroChina was briefly worth $1 trillion after it listed on the Shanghai stock exchange in 2007, but only based on its price on that exchange, which is isolated from the rest of the financial world because of Chinese laws on foreign investment. PetroChina’s shares also trade in Hong Kong and on the New York Stock Exchange. Based on prices there, its market capitalization never went as high as $500 billion.

By coincidence, the peak price for one Apple share is now less than two dollars away from the retail price of the Apple I computer in 1976. It sold for $666.66.

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