Apple Hits the $600 Billion Sweet Spot

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is quickly gathering pace for the magical targets of a $1,000 stock price and a $1 trillion market cap. The company’s stock hit a fresh high on Tuesday morning, hitting the $600 billion level for the first time. Shares hit a record high of $644 before dropping. The stock needs to close above $643.52 a share to hit $600 billion in market value.

Apple crossed the $500 billion barrier only six weeks ago, and is only the second company ever to break the $600 billion market capitalization mark after old rival Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) crossed it back in December 1999 for 13 trading days. At its highest level, Microsoft’s valuation was $619 billion.

Apple’s stock is up 59 percent this year. Last month, it had announced plans to start buying back shares and to distribute its first dividend in more than a decade. The company will use its $97.6 billion in cash for that.

Last week, analyst Brian White set a stock price target of more than $800, which would imply a market cap of $932 billion.

However, BTIG’s Walter Piecyk downgraded the company’s stock from Buy to Hold on Monday in a rare contrarian move. Piecyk predicted iPhone profit margins would start dipping as wireless providers begin cutting down on expensive subsidies.