Apple breaks into Fortune 500’s top 10!

Apple climbed the Fortune 500 this year to the No. 6 spot, its highest-ever ranking, its first time in the top 10, and the top technology company on the influential list, replacing sagging HP.

Fortune, which ranks firms by annual revenue, released its updated Fortune 500 list today. The revenue cutoff this year was approximately $4.8 billion.

Apple easily beat that, with revenue of $156.5 billion for its fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2012, behind Wal-Mart, Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Phillips 66 and Berkshire Hathaway, the Nebraska holding company owned by billionaire CEO Warren Buffett.

The Cupertino, Calif. company, whose stock has been hammered since last September, climbed 11 spots from 2012’s No. 17 with a revenue gain of 47%, blowing by former technology lead Hewlett-Packard, which fell from No. 10 to No. 15 in the newest list as revenue there dropped 5%.

Other technology firms near the top of the Fortune 500 were IBM at No. 20, Microsoft at No. 35, Amazon at No. 49, Dell at No. 51, Intel and Google at Nos. 54 and 55, respectively, Cisco at No. 60 and Oracle at No. 80.

Microsoft rose two spots on the list, IBM fell one position, Amazon climbed seven places and Dell, like HP a victim of slumping PC sales, fell seven.

When ranked on profit, Apple was the list’s No. 2 company, reaping $41.7 billion, behind only Exxon Mobil, which posted profit of $44.8 billion. The latter was the second-highest in U.S. history, surpassed only by Exxon’s own 2008 record.

HP had the dubious distinction of taking home the profit booby prize, as it ranked dead last among the 500 firms with a loss of $12.6 billion, largely on the back of a pair of write-downs last year, including one of $8.8 billion for what it called “serious accounting irregularities” at U.K. software company Autonomy before HP acquired the firm in 2011.

Microsoft placed No. 8 when ranked by profit, even though its $17 billion was down 27% from the year before, hit by falling PC sales — and ensuingdeclines in sales of its flagship, Windows — and a booming tablet market, where the Redmond, Wash. company didn’t have a significant play during 2012.

Not all was roses for Apple in 2012, Fortune said, noting the two apologies issued by CEO Tim Cook — one for the mid-year Maps debacle, another a month ago to Chinese consumers over warranty repair policies — and the less-than-dramatic introductions of the iPhone 5 and iPad Mini last fall.

“Still, when every executive wants to invent the iPod of ___, Apple remains an innovation icon,” the magazine wrote.

Apple no longer World’s Most Valuable Company !

Last February, Apple’s market cap of $470 billion made it the most valuable company in the world, ahead of the former leader, international oil and gas firm ExxonMobil. And  Apple kept going. By August, the stock was worth $621 billion making Apple the most valuable company of all-time and giving it a value 53% higher than the New York based runner-up. Apple even rose higher before peaking on the day that the Apple iPhone 5 launched.

Apple'[s market cap has fallen under Exxon's - Exxon regains title of world's most valuable company after Apple debacle

But a decline of 38% since then has taken Apple’s market cap below Exxon’s allowing the latter to regain the top spot as the world’s
most valuable company. Exxon now has a market cap of $418.23 billion versus Apple’s $413.06 billion. The company seems to have lost the backing of Wall Street and main street. During its run up to all time highs, both good news and bad news were equally rewarded. Now, good news and bad news are equally met with selling. While Apple CEO Tim Cook might say that the product pipeline is “chock full,”  the cycle that Apple is currently in cannot easily be broken.
About a half dozen U.S. companies in history have hit the $500 billion value mark including Apple, Microsoft and Exxon. Only Apple and Microsoft have ever hit $600 billion.

In other Apple news the company has started pushing out iOS 6.1 beta 5 to registered developers. The update will allow Siri to buy movie tickets, and should improve Apple Maps, Passbook and a fix a few bugs. Beta 4 expires on Tuesday, so registered developers need to update to beta 5 ASAP!

Apple now worth $500,000,000,000 ! Why It Won’t Stop There ..

Apple now worth more than Poland !

Apple (AAPL) crossed an amazing milestone in after-market trading yesterday, when its market capitalization exceeded $500 billion for the first time.  To put this in perspective, the tech juggernaut is now more valuable than the gross domestic product of Poland, Belgium, Sweden and even Saudi Arabia.

Apple is one of the only one of four companies in history to break this mark, and unlike others that have briefly traded in this neighborhood–Microsoft (MSFT) and Cisco (CSCO) –Apple has the potential to not only sustain this value but blow past it.

Why?

First because Apple’s stock still is not expensive on traditional valuation measures.

The stock trades at a 15X trailing price-earnings ratio, which is about the average PE ratio for the market as a whole for the past century. Needless to say, Apple is growing its earnings vastly faster than the market as a whole.

Second, Apple’s penetration of its key product categories is still relatively low. Macs, for example, still make up only about 10% of PC sales worldwide. iPhones, meanwhile, are only about 20% of the exploding global smartphone market, which itself is growing extremely rapidly. And Apple dominates the tablet market, which is still in its infancy.

Thus, all three of Apple’s core businesses appear to have plenty of room to grow. And the company is widely expected to launch a major new business later this year, TVs, which could open up another huge growth opportunity.

Lastly, for those focused on near-term catalysts, Apple should have plenty of good news to announce over the next six months. The iPad 3 is expected next week (click here for all the expected features), the iPhone 5 should appear this summer, and Apple’s TV is expected in the fall.

Obviously, as with any fast-growing technology company, there is plenty of downside risk for Apple, especially given the loss of Steve Jobs. All the products Apple will release this year were likely incubated under Jobs, and it won’t be until next year and the following year that we’ll know how well Apple can innovate under its new CEO, Tim Cook.

But Cook is off to a great start so far. And Apple’s three businesses are humming, with another potentially big one thought to be on the way. And Apple’s stock just isn’t expensive relative to historical earnings, let alone expected future earnings.

So it is not, actually, far-fetched to think that Apple’s value could eventually hit $1 trillion or more.