Apple Market Value Hits 700 Billion (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Apple Market Value Hits $700 Billion

A rise in Apple shares pushes the company's market value above $700 billion, making it the first company to reach that milestone.

NEW YORK — A rise in Apple (IW 500/4) shares Tuesday pushed the market value of the trend-setting tech icon above $700 billion, becoming the first company to hit that milestone.

Apple shares rose nearly 1% in morning trade to $119.75 at 1525 GMT, making its market capitalization some $701.7 billion. The shares were fluctuating in a narrow range later.

The maker of the iPhone and iPad is by far the world's most valuable company by stock market value, well ahead of Exxon Mobil (IW 500/1) at $403 billion and Microsoft (IW 500/16) at $394 billion.

Investors and analysts were upbeat on Apple at the start of the holiday shopping season, expecting strong sales during the gift-giving period that kicks off in the US with Thursday's Thanksgiving holiday.

"We believe the stars are well aligned for Apple to shine bright this holiday season," said Brian White at Cantor Fitzgerald in a research note, adding that he expects to see heavy demand for the new iPhone models and a refreshed lineup of iPads.

Apple has also launched its new mobile payment system that allows consumers to purchase goods at some merchants with a tap of the iPhone, and is working on a smartwatch for release in 2015.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2014

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