File photo. Photograph:( AFP )
Shares of Apple Inc touched the US $200 mark for the first time and neared a US $1 trillion valuation on Wednesday, after the company forecast blowout current-quarter sales and analysts said a September launch of new iPhones set the stage for sustained growth.
The company's shares rose as much as 5.7 per cent to a high of US $201.32 in early trading - within striking distance of the US $206.49 mark that will give it a trillion-dollar valuation.
As of Wednesday's open, Apple has gained 18 per cent in 2018 and more than 30 per cent in the last 12 months.
Apple forecast revenue of US $60 billion to US $62 billion for its fiscal fourth quarter, beating the US $59.6 billion analysts had expected, according to data from Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
With 4.915 billion shares currently outstanding, according to FactSet, Apple just needs to rise US $3.88 to US $203.56 to achieve the landmark valuation. Its current valuation stands at about $979 billion.
Apple's pricey iPhone X boosted third-quarter margins and created optimism that a new handset with premium features and priced higher than other models would boost margins further, analysts said.
"We think the lesson Apple's management has learned from the iPhone X is when you sell a smartphone for more than US $1K you can sell fewer units and still reap the financial benefits," DA Davidson analyst Tom Forte said.
Apple sold 41.3 million iPhones in the fiscal third quarter, half a million less than expected. But the average iPhone selling price topped expectations by US $30, hitting US $724.
Apple isn't the only tech giant closing in on a trillion dollar mark though. Amazon is worth a $ 870 billion. Google owner Alphabet has a market valuation of nearly $850 billion. And Microsoft's market cap is now just under $815 billion.