September 17, 2012: On the back of record iPhone 5 preorders of 2 million in 24 hours, Apple’s stock price hits a new all-time high. For the first time in history, AAPL breaks the $700 mark in after-hours trading. Passing the milestone cements Cupertino’s place as the world’s most valuable publicly traded company.
Amazingly, the new record is $270 a share higher than Apple at the start of the year. The stock rose 65 percent in just nine months.
Apple’s astonishing success
By any measurable metric, Apple enjoyed soaring success in 2012. A stock price breaking $700 was just the latest in a series of dizzying records the company set in just a few short years.
In January 2006, Apple surpassed the value of Dell, the company whose founder once said he’d shut down Apple and refund its shareholders. A few years later, Apple overtook Microsoft as well — besting the tech giant that dominated the 1990s. In August 2011, Apple briefly overtook ExxonMobil to become the world’s most valuable company.
And it just kept climbing from there…
At the end of February 2012, Apple surpassed the $500 billion market cap, then smashed through $600 billion in April. By September 2012, Apple was valued at upward of $650 billion.
To put that in perspective, Apple was worth more than second-place ExxonMobil plus the entire net worth of Google at the time. Not bad for a company that had fallen to $12.88 a share on September 29, 2000.
Apple stock breaks records
Apple hasn’t exactly renounced its winning ways since then. It became the first publicly traded U.S. company to pass the $700 billion, $800 billion and $900 billion valuations. Earlier this year, it became the first U.S. company to vault past the $1 trillion mark.
At time of writing, AAPL is trading at $225.90, although it’s not fair to compare this with Apple’s $700 price tag due to a 7-to-1 stock split since then. Now why didn’t we invest in Apple back in 2000 or before?