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Apple breaks through $500 a share

A view of the entrance of the latest Apple store set inside Grand Central Station on Dec. 7, 2011. Apple’s big rally in the past six months has vaulted it into a small club of $500 stocks.

Kai Ryssdal: Here's today's stock market timeline: Less than a year and a half ago, shares of Apple topped $300 for the first time. Six months ago, above $400.

Today, a single share in the most valuable company in the world reached a new highwater mark: $500.

Clearly, Apple's stock keeps getting more and more expensive. Our senior business correspondent Bob Moon reports, though, that depending on how you look at it, Apple's actually a bargain.


Bob Moon: Apple is certainly not the most expensive stock you can buy. Just today, high-end shares of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway gained $1,250 in value. The price of just one of those shares is now more than $119,000.

At Long Island University, professor Panos Mourdoukoutas contends only market rookies look at just the stock's price.

Panos Mourdoukoutas: This idea that the stock is cheap or expensive, it's actually useless.

And even at $502...

Mourdoukoutas: Apple is a very inexpensive stock.

At Solaris Group, chief investment officer Tim Ghriskey agrees that share value is just one measure of how the company is doing.

Timothy Ghriskey: You have to also look at things like earnings.

He says Apple has been making so much money, the cost of its shares compared to expected earnings makes it cheaper than the average stock.

Apple is part of an exclusive club of stocks that trade at $500 or more -- among them, Google and Priceline. And size matters: Between last October and December, Bloomberg reports Apple's surge single-handedly lifted the S&P 500 by almost 4.5 percent.

Ghriskey: Certainly Apple has a very positive influence on the overall market.

Three times in the past, Apple has split its stock to cut its share prices in half. But some companies may like the publicity about having such a valuable stock. So says Wall Street historian Charles Geisst at Manhattan College.

Charles Geisst: It gets people to take notice of the company and its product, which is probably the idea behind the whole thing.

Geisst points out that these days, the market is being driven by big institutional investors who don't really care what the price of a stock is.

I'm Bob Moon for Marketplace.

About the author

Bob Moon is Marketplace’s senior business correspondent, based in Los Angeles.

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