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Published: 8/18/2012

Apple stock hits record high after 4-month slip

ASSOCIATED PRESS

NEW YORK -- Apple Inc.'s stock hit a new high Friday after a four-month swoon, as investors looked ahead to the release of a new iPhone and possibly a smaller iPad.

Already the company with the world's highest market value, Apple experienced a rise in stock price to $648.19 just before closing. The price then retreated to $648.11, up $11.77 from Thursday's close.

The previous high for the stock was $644 on April 10.

Apple has a market value of about $608 billion, almost 50 percent higher than No. 2 Exxon Mobil Corp. at $408 billion.

Apple's stock fell last month after the company's earnings report for the April-June quarter showed the slowest growth in more than two years. It was only the second time in 10 years that Apple had missed analyst expectations.

Jefferies & Co. analyst Peter Misek raised his price target on the stock to $900 from $800 on Friday, saying an "iPad Mini" is in production in China. His belief is based on readings of reports from Apple's suppliers, contract manufacturers, and contacts in the region. He now believes Apple will build 25 million iPads of all kinds in the current quarter, up from a previous estimate of 16 million, which did not include the "Mini."

The Cupertino, Calif., company has not said anything about a new iPhone or iPad.

Speculation about a smaller iPad has been rife this year. Analysts believe Apple wants to make a cheaper tablet computer to counter the threat of Google Inc.'s Nexus 7 and Amazon.com Inc.'s Kindle Fire, both of which sell for $199. The cheapest current iPad costs $399.



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