We mentioned a couple of days ago that AAPL stock was approaching a high for the year, and it has now broken the $549.02 at which it began the year.

The company has experienced a roller-coaster ride in its stock price, almost entirely divorced from any product-based reality. The value placed on the company by the market at any given time has more to do with the gap between rumors and product launches, and of course short-term speculation … 


Its climb in the latter half of the year was given a boost by a vote of confidence by billionaire investor Carl Icahn, who tweeted in August that he considered AAPL “extremely undervalued” and that he’d taken a “large position” in the stock – which later reached around $2.5B.

Tim Cook last month told Apple employees that the company had never been stronger.

We’ve just posted financial results for fiscal Q4, including record-setting iPhone sales. I am happy to report that Apple’s business has never been stronger, and we are heading into the holidays within amazing lineup led by the new iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, the stunning iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display. You and your teams work incredibly hard to deliver the very best products in the world, and our customers simply love them. I’m extremely proud of the collaboration going on across the company and everything we’ve accomplished as result of this great team effort.

The company broke $500 following a record 9M iPhone sales in the opening weekend, and high-end guidance for the following quarter.

Apple remains the most valuable company in the world, with a market cap of close to half a trillion dollars ($490B).

If you’ve just made so much money from your AAPL stock that you’ve got some extra cash for your toys fund, you’ll find the best Black Friday deals over on 9to5Toys.

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