Apple to Exxon: Try to Keep Up, Will Ya?
Shares of Apple are on a tear today, following the company’s monster results for its first fiscal quarter, one which saw earnings more than double on surging demand for the iPhone and iPad. Apple’s stock spiked more than 7 percent after the opening bell, passing $450 and attaining a market cap of almost $419 billion — more than Exxon’s $413 billion, and the largest of any U.S. company.
But how long can Apple hold that title? The company first surpassed Exxon in market cap last August, but the oil juggernaut reclaimed the top spot before the day’s end. It’s entirely possible that will happen once again today. But as a flurry of analysts suggest — many are raising their price targets on Apple to $600 or more — Cupertino might hold on to that title for a bit longer this time, particularly if it’s got enough good hardware in the pipeline to keep its earnings big.
“We believe Apple’s new product portfolio remains incredibly strong,” Deutsche Bank’s Chris Whitmore said in a research note today. “Specifically, we expect iPad 3 in C1Q12 followed by an iPhone 5 refresh in the Fall. In addition, we expect Macs with Ivy Bridge should support incremental share gains and Apple TV appears set to graduate from an ‘Apple hobby’ later this year. We anticipate an iOS device with Siri user interface and iCloud synching has the potential to redefine the smart TV category in the same way iPhone and iPad impacted the smartphone and tablet markets, respectively. Meanwhile, we expect iPad 3 to enter the tablet market as most competitors are refocusing their efforts on Windows 8 tablets.”