The biggest company in the world based on market capitalization just got a little bit bigger after yesterday’s market close.
Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) broke its own record in market value — over $700 billion. This marks the first time an American company has broken that number.
In the wake of the news, shares jumped nearly 2% to $122 in New York, and Apple’s cap has gone as high as $723.67 billion since then.
With meteoric growth like that, there’s no telling how high the stock could go. But analysts are going with a 12-month average target price of $132.
At yesterday’s close, Apple was more than twice as valuable as longtime rival Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), and Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM), the next-biggest company in the world, is currently worth $379.2 billion.
Apple buzz has been on the rise since CEO Tim Cook unveiled larger-screened, pricier iPhones in September, which was a crucial part of the record profit jump over the last three months of 2014. The expansion into the Chinese market was also key; where revenue was only $1 billion a few years ago, it since reached $38 billion in 2014.
And with the Apple Watch coming in April, there’s still a lot to look forward to.
But can the company maintain its start-up-like growth rates?
The Next iProduct
Cook says it can, of course. While the potential in China is undeniably huge, much of the onus lies with Apple developers to continue designing new, lucrative, and most importantly shiny gadgets to sweep Apple fanboys off of their feet.
April will bring the highly-touted Apple Watch to stores everywhere, which will enable users to read emails, download apps, and be served ads all without the burdensome task of digging through their own pockets.
Apple executives haven’t been discouraged by the fact that their smartwatch is not the first of its kind on the market. In response to this, Cook has noted that the MP3 players and tablets that came out before the iPod and iPad were too difficult to use or too narrow in scope.
Apple Goes Big on Solar
The Cupertino, California-based company also announced its plans to build an 1,300-acre, $850 million solar farm with First Solar (NASDAQ: FSLR), causing the solar company’s stock to jump from $45.31 to $49.49.
The plant will have the capacity to power the equivalent of 60,000 homes and will be used to supply electricity for Apple’s new campus in Silicon Valley, as well as its other offices and 52 stores in the state.
Construction of the 1,300-acre California Flats Solar Project is expected to begin sometime in the middle of the year and be completed by the end of 2016. As part of Apple’s contract with First Solar, it will receive electricity from the 130 megawatts of capacity over the course of 25 years.
First Solar stated that the quarter-century deal is the “largest agreement in the industry to provide clean energy to a commercial end user.”
This is hardly Apple’s first venture into renewable energy. In 2013, it began using 100% renewables to power its data centers, and it will invest $2 billion over a decade to convert a failed sapphire glass plant in Arizona into a data center that will be primarily powered by solar energy.
Apple’s investment in the solar farm is a significant expansion of its efforts to shift toward renewable energy sources, including wind and solar, to power its operations. Renewable energy has powered the company’s corporate campuses in Austin and Sacramento for several years.