By Noel Randewich and Tiyashi Datta
(Reuters) -Apple Inc’s stock market value ended a trading session above $3 trillion for the first time on Friday, lifted by signs of improving inflation and bets that the iPhone maker will successfully expand into new markets.
Shares of the world’s most valuable company jumped 2.3% to $193.97, giving it a market capitalization of $3.05 trillion, Refinitiv data showed.
It was Apple’s fourth straight record high close.
The Cupertino, California company’s market capitalization briefly peaked above $3 trillion in intraday trading on Jan. 3, 2022 before closing the session just below that mark.
Heavyweight growth stocks including Apple, Nvidia Corp and Tesla Inc rose sharply after a Commerce Department report showed the Personal Consumption Expenditure price index advanced less in May than in April, reflecting progress in the Federal Reserve’s fight against inflation.
Apple has surged 49% so far in 2023 in a rally by several of Wall Street’s most valuable companies, fueled by bets that the Fed is nearing the end of its campaign of interest rate hikes, and by optimism about the potential for artificial intelligence.
Apple’s most recent quarterly report in May showed revenue and profits fell but still beat analysts’ expectations. Along with a steady track record of stock buybacks, the financial results reinforced its reputation as a safe investment at a time of global economic uncertainty.
“It’s a testament to one of the greatest publicly traded companies that’s ever existed. It continues to grow and diversify its revenue streams, has shareholder-friendly management, buys back shares, throws off a dividend and has a fortress balance sheet with strong and defendable cash flows,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at B. Riley Wealth.
Apple’s $3 trillion milestone follows the June 5 launch of a pricey augmented-reality headset, its riskiest bet since the introduction of the iPhone more than a decade ago.
The stock has climbed about 7% since then, compared to the S&P 500’s 4% rise.
Recent gains in Apple’s shares have outpaced analysts’ estimates for the company’s future earnings. It is now trading at over 29 times expected earnings, its highest since January 2022, according to Refinitiv data. That compares to a median PE ratio of about 13 for the S&P 500 technology index.
Four other U.S. companies have valuations of more than $1 trillion – Alphabet Inc, Amazon.com Inc, Nvidia and Microsoft Corp, which follows Apple with a market value of $2.5 trillion.
Shares of Tesla and Meta Platforms Inc have more than doubled this year, while a 190% gain in shares of Nvidia has catapulted the chipmaker into the trillion-dollar club.
(Reporting by Tiyashi Datta in Bengaluru and by Noel Randewich in Oakland, Calif.; Editing by Anil D’Silva and Richard Chang)