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Apple value surges past USD500b

Apple’s market capitalisation has topped USD500 billion for the first time, cementing its lead as the world’s most valuable business and reaching heights not seen by any company since the last recession.

The shares gained 1.3 percent to USD542.44 at 9:30 am New York time, bringing its market value to USD505.8b. Apple has risen 34 percent in 2012, following gains in each of the past three years. The company is worth USD93.4 billion more than the world’s second-most-valuable business, Exxon Mobil Corp.

Apple investors are anticipating a sales boost from the company’s latest iPad tablet computer, due on 7 March. They’re also banking on a new iPhone coming by the third quarter and the possibility of Apple offering a dividend, its first since 1995, said Howard Ward, a money manager at Gamco Investors Inc. in Rye, New York. Demand for Apple’s products has helped the company increase profit faster than its stock price, making the price-to-earnings ratio more favourable, he said.