Apple stock hits $500 milestone

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Apple stock broke the $500 barrier for the first time during Monday trading, and ended the day at $502.60 which gives the world's most valuable company a substantial leg up when compared to next-closest Exxon Mobil Corp.

The Cupertino, Calif., company rallied to close up $9.18 from Friday and now has a market capitalization of roughly $465 billion, which is 17 percent more than Exxon's $400 billion. The two companies have bandied the title of world's most valuable company back and forth since August 2011, though Apple rocketed to a commanding lead in January following a record-busting holiday quarter.

As first reported by AppleInsider, Apple is now worth more than rivals Microsoft and Google combined.

Much of the company's meteoric rise can be attributed to near overwhelming demand for iOS devices like the iPhone 4S and iPad 2.

In the quarter ending in December 2011, Apple earned $13.06 billion on sales of 37 million iPhones, 15 million iPads and 5.2 million Macs. Overall revenue for the period was $46.33 billion.

During the last quarter, the iPhone saw massive profit margins that equalled 36 percent of all worldwide mobile phone revenue and 74 percent of industry EBIT on sales that accounted for only 9 percent of units sold.

The iPad was also a major player last quarter and continues to see dominating sales worldwide despite an onslaught of Android-based tablets like Samsung's Galaxy Tab and Amazon's Kindle Fire.

Apple stock pushes past $500 for first time. | Source: Google Finance

Apple is poised to have another strong year that, along with the usual yearly product refreshes, is likely to include the highly-anticipated launches of an updated iPad, a possibly redesigned iPhone and a radically redesigned MacBook Pro lineup.