Sat. Jul 20th, 2024

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 percent to $193.97, giving it a market capitalisation of $3.05 trillion, Refinitiv data showed.

Apple’s market value briefly peaked above $3 trillion for the first time on January 3, 2022, in intraday trading before closing the session just below that mark.

The latest gains in Apple shares – 49 percent so far in 2023 – come as technology stocks rebound on bets that the United States Federal Reserve may be slowing its pace of interest rate hikes as well as on the buzz around artificial intelligence.

The expectations around interest rates were based on a report on Friday that showed an inflation index that the central bank closely monitors had tumbled last month to its lowest level since April 2021, pulled down by lower petrol prices and slower-rising food costs.

The inflation index showed that prices rose 3.8 percent in May from 12 months earlier, down sharply from a 4.4 percent year-over-year surge in April.

At the same time, consumers barely increased their spending last month, leading to predictions of a slowing economy and a slowdown in rate increases by the Fed.

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 percent since then, compared with the S&P 500’s 4 percent rise.

Currently, four other US companies have a valuation of more than $1 trillion: Alphabet Inc, Microsoft, Inc and Nvidia Corp.