updated 09:18 pm EDT, Thu July 5, 2012
Predicted to hit $750 per share by January
Apple's stock has regained some $82 billion in market capitalization in just the last seven weeks, closing today just shy of $610, the first time the stock has ended the trading day over $600 per share since late April. It hit a low of $530 per share in mid-May but has steadily climbed back since then, and is trading above $610 in after-hours activity this evening. Predictions of strong foreign sales may be behind the recent rise.
The second half of 2012 looks promising for any Apple observers, with expected refreshes to the iMac and Mac mini, the release of new versions of both OS X and iOS (the former appearing this month, the latter in the fall) and an anticipated fall release of what many believe will be a redesigned as well as updated iPhone, expected to add LTE compatibility and other features. Current speculation also has Apple releasing a 7-inch iPad "mini," a Retina display-equipped 13-inch MacBook Pro and an Apple-branded HDTV set before year's end.
Apple may also be able to continue its mostly-successful string of court victories challenging Google's Android OS over software patents, and other device manufacturers over both software and hardware copying over the next couple of years. Though Apple may not win in all cases -- for example the defeat it was just handed in London over the "slide-to-unlock" patent -- most legal observers expect that Apple's fight against FRAND abuse will ultimately see the court system embracing its argument that litigation is not the right path for that type of patent dispute.
Apple has traded as high as $644 a share over the last year, but in the same period reached a low point of $346.71, almost exactly a year ago -- a 74.5 percent rise in value. Over the course of 2012 alone, the stock has added nearly $200 to its price, a 49 percent rise in value. The company currently boasts a market cap of $570.33 billion, the highest in the world, and yet keeps a price-to-earnings ratio just below 15, considered a very good balance for a company of that size.
Fortune's Philip Elmer-Dewitt notes that Bullish Cross analyst Andy Zaky has an unblemished track record of calling AAPL low points (or "corrections" in market-speak) and predicting how far the stock will reach. His current forecast is for Apple's shares to hit $750 before the end of January 2013, about the time Apple will report its holiday quarter results.