NEW YORK - Apple (IW 500/4) became the first company to reach a market value of $700 billion Tuesday as shares vaulted amid upbeat news on the U.S. tech giant's gains in the smartphone market and soon-to-arrive smartwatch.
Shares rose 1.9% to close at $122.02, lifting Apple's market value to $710 billion, and making it the first company to hit the $700 billion milestone.
Apple chief executive Tim Cook, speaking at the Goldman Sachs Technology & Internet Conference, said Apple was hitting its stride.
"We've taken (the mobile operating system) iOS and extended it into your car, into your home, into your health. All of these are really critical parts of your life," Cook said.
Using the price-earnings ratio favored by Wall Street, Apple is valued at around 16 times its annual earnings, but Fitzgerald said the value was only around 10 times the projected earnings for the next fiscal year.
Apple is far ahead in market value from the number two company, oil giant Exxon Mobil, worth some $382 billion at the market close.
The record Apple quarterly profit -- on unprecedented revenue of $74.6 billion -- was driven by the sale of 74.5 million iPhones, well ahead of most analysts' expectations.
Analysts are also seeing expanded adoption of the Apple Pay system that enables customers to purchase items with a tap of their iPhone, and many predict strong demand for the Apple Watch set for release in April.
Separately, Apple agreed to commit $848 million for solar energy to power its data centers, according to a statement from First Solar, Inc.
Cook called the effort "our biggest, boldest, and most ambitious project ever" and said it was part of Apple's commitment on clean energy and corporate responsibility.
Apple will receive electricity from 130 megawatts under a 25-year power purchase agreement, "the largest agreement in the industry to provide clean energy to a commercial end user," the solar firm said.
The 2,900-acre California Flats Solar Project occupies part of a property owned by Hearst Corporation in Cholame, California, with construction set to start this year.
Apple unveiled plans earlier this month to pump $2 billion over the coming decade into a solar-powered data center "global command" facility in the southwest state of Arizona.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2015