Apple Stock Closes Above $3 Trillion In Market Value In A Public Company First; Tech Revival Paces Nasdaq’s Biggest First-Half Gain Since 1983


Apple became the first publicly traded company to be valued at $3 trillion Friday, leading a tech sector revival that helped the Nasdaq record its best opening half of a year since 1983.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 1.5% Friday to end the week at 13,787.92. It has risen 30% since the start of the year, outdoing the S&P 500’s 16% increase and a 4% uptick for the Dow.

Despite issues like inflation, interest rates, the war in Ukraine and other matters weighing on the minds of investors, the Nasdaq managed to sharply reverse direction after a bleak 2022. The index lost about one-third of its value last year due to advertising softness and regular action by the Federal Reserve, which raised interest rates several times in an effort to curb inflation. Even with all of the gyrations, economic indicators like the still-robust real estate market have stubbornly bucked expectations for recessionary decline. Once viewed as inevitable, a recession has still not officially materialized.

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For the second time in 2023, Apple cracked the $3 trillion valuation mark, with its shares gaining 2% to $193.97 after establishing a new 52-week high north of $194 earlier in the trading day. The tech giant now has 2 billion active devices in circulation and, despite a slowdown in total revenue in recent quarters, continued momentum in its iPhone business, which accounts for half of all of its sales. Apple shares fared even better than the Nasdaq in the first half of 2023, gaining 45%. They had briefly touched the $3 trillion mark in January before China supply chain issues prompted a pullback.

Improvements in the emerging field of artificial intelligence have helped boost the stocks of many tech companies in recent months, with shares in Microsoft, Alphabet and chipmaker Nvidia faring particularly well.

Citigroup, which initiated coverage of Apple this week, believes the stock has another 30% of upside in it. The company is “navigating the macro slowdown and inflationary pressure on consumer spending by consistently gaining share from Android phones,” according to Citi’s Atif Malik. The analyst has a $240 price target on Apple shares, the highest on Wall Street.

Overall Apple sentiment on Wall Street is not quite to Malik’s feverish level, according to a recent survey by Bloomberg. The news outlet said 68% of analysts recommend buying Apple stock. Microsoft and Alphabet have buy ratings from more than 85% of analysts, while 94% recommend buying shares in Amazon.

Entertainment stocks, though they have rebounded somewhat from a poor fourth quarter, remain generally depressed. Disney finished the first half essentially flat, while Warner Bros. Discovery, Fox Corp. and Comcast managed gains of between 10% and 30% apiece. Shares in Paramount Global, whose financial position and scale have come under scrutiny among many Wall Streeters of late, fell 14% in the first half.

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