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Apple stock hits eight-year all-time high

Trading peaks at best price since 1991 ever

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Updated Shares in Apple yesterday hit their highest price point for eight years, peaking at $71.44 before sliding slightly to close at $70.56. An today, the rise continued, leaving the stock at the end of trading at $73.5, up $2.94, the highest price the shares have ever commanded. The last time Apple's stock closed above $70 -- it peaked at $72.75 -- was back in April 1991 when John Sculley was still in charge, the company was preparing to launch its System 7 OS, and development of the first PowerBooks was proceeding towards a launch in the autumn. Incidentally, the lowest point it reached was $13.00 in July 1997 when Apple was well into the red and CEO Gil Amelio was struggling to turn the company around -- and effectively getting fired for it. Yesterday's peak wasn't unexpected in broad terms -- though the figure itself was a surprise -- since Apple's stock regularly rises above the current average around the time of a public appearance by Steve Jobs. Locking back over the last nine months, you can see clear jumps after Jobs' January MacWorld Expo, May Worldwide Developers Conference and July MacWorld Expo keynotes. This week's Seybold speech and the accompanying introduction of the Power Mac G4 closely followed that pattern. Still, the current trend is upwards. Apart from the January peak, Apple's stock has stuck closely to an average of around $35 from last October to April 1999. At that point, thanks in part to the May peak, the stock's price began to rise and it has been rising consistently since then. How far this trend continues will depend primarily on timely good news from Apple: a successful iBook roll-out followed by the release of the higher-end Power Mac G4s and the anticipated unveiling of the next-generation iMac should all help here. Improvements in revenue and profitability for the current and next quarter will, too. ® Register Factoid Microsoft's $150 million investment in Apple was made when the Mac maker's stock price was around $20. That would have allowed Microsoft to buy some 7.5 million shares (in fact it received 150,000 special $1000 shares). That shareholding would today be worth nearly $530 million, more than double the profit Apple made last quarter...

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