Apple shares notch all-time high ahead of developer conference

(Reuters) -Apple Inc shares hit a record high for the first time in 17 months on Monday, ahead of an annual software developer conference, although the company’s market value remained short of an all-time peak of $3 trillion.

Apple is expected to launch a mixed-reality headset at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) later in the day, which would be its first big move into a new product category since the introduction of the Apple Watch nine years ago.

Shares of the world’s most valuable listed company were last up 1.8% at $184.15. They have jumped nearly 40% in 2023, compared with an 11.5% rise in the benchmark S&P 500.

Apple became the only company to hit $3 trillion in market capitalization early last year. It was last valued at $2.89 trillion.

While it is still early days, augmented reality/virtual reality could be the next main platform for Apple’s growth, Morgan Stanley analyst Erik Woodring wrote in a note.

“The fact that the company is expected to be the market leading vendor in mixed-reality headsets is what could make WWDC a more significant stock catalyst this year,” Woodring said.

The iPhone maker’s forward 12-month price-to-earnings ratio is 28.39, compared with the sector median of 12.79.

Apple is among a handful of megacap firms that have underpinned a rally in stocks this year, as the sudden popularity of AI brings the focus back on technology shares following a rout last year.

(Reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Anil D’Silva)


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