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Apple shares crack $300 en-route to new all-time high

Apple stock rose roughly 1% in pre-marketed trading Wednesday to a new all-time high, surpassing the $300 milestone for the first time in the company's history.

Shares of the Mac and iPhone maker have been on a tear in recent weeks, rising more than 25% since late August when the stock sat at just over $240.

The Cupertino-based company became the world's second largest corporation in perceived market value late last month after shares hit $290, boosting its market cap to $265.8 billion, ahead of PetroChina's $265.5 billion.

Wednesday's early gains have since pushed the company's cap north of $275 billion, placing it roughly $55 billion behind Exxon-Mobil, the largest company in the world, which was valued at $329.44 billion when the markets closed Tuesday.

Despite the surge, financial experts say the company isn't showing any signs of slowing down. A poll by Thompson / First Call of financial institutions who offer coverage of Apple reveals the mean price target on its shares currently sits at $350, with one firm placing a target on the gadget maker as high as $430.

Consensus expectations are that shares will continue to appreciate in the short term, especially as Apple prepares to report results from its fourth fiscal quarter of 2010 next Monday, which will include the first full quarter of iPhone 4 sales.

On average, analysts expect the company to report per-share earnings north of $4.00 for the three-month period ending September on revenues of approximately $18.76 billion.

Recent market research data also indicates that Apple continues to hit on all cylinders, demonstrating strength in all of its core business segments as the lucrative holiday shopping season rapidly approaches.

In particular, the company is expected to see a boost from its fledgeling tablet business, with one analyst estimating that sales of iPads are already contributing more than $3 billion in revenue per quarter after being on the market just six months.

For a detailed look inside Apple's fundamentals and where the company's share price may be heading, please see AppleInsider's two-part series Apple $400: