California gadget-maker Apple saw its stock market value close above $500 billion on Wednesday, cementing its position as the most valuable company in the world.
Only five US firms have ever been worth more than $500 billion: Microsoft, Exxon, Cisco Systems Intel and General Electric, according to the BBC.
Apple has become the sixth US corporation to reach that milestone, and is the only one to be worth that much at current prices, the Associated Press reports.
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Apple stock has risen steadily over recent years, after the late Steve Jobs revived the company through pioneering design developments in computers, and subsequently through the iPod, iPhone and iPad products.
Unprecedented sales of its iPhones and iPad tablet computers helped Apple report record-breaking profits of $13.06 billion for the three months to December 31, 2011 – up 118 percent from the same period in 2010.
In January Apple leaped over oil behemoth ExxonMobil to become the biggest US company in terms of market value, the Agence France Presse reported.
On Tuesday the company invited journalists to a media event on March 7, at which it is expected to unveil the latest version of the iPad.
The invitation did not officially confirm the device’s launch, but read: “We have something you really have to see. And touch.”
The message also featured a partial image of a device resembling the iPad. More than 50 million of the tablet computers have been sold since the range was first launched in 2010.
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