Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) shares hit record highs on almost every day last week, and closed Friday at a record $127.08. Tuesday's $122.02 close brought Apple's market capitalization to nearly $711 billion, making it the first U.S. company to surpass a $700 billion market cap. That's over twice Microsoft's $350 billion valuation and not quite twice that of Google's $365 billion.
Analysts and investors alike were bullish, and continued the trend of raising Apple shares' target price. Analyst Keith Bachman of BMO Capital Markets raised his target price from $130 to $135, speculating that there are still a lot of iPhone owners who have not yet, but will upgrade to the iPhone 6, and that the Apple Watch will sell 19 million units in 2015. Canaccord Genuity raised its
target price from $135 to $145, and billionaire investor Carl Icahn reiterated his stance that Apple shares are undervalued, and really should be trading at $216 per share.
Other noteworthy AAPL news items from last week:It appears that Apple may be working on its own electric automobile. A recent rash of sightings of Apple minivans equipped with cameras and other equipment had people speculating that Apple is working on a self-driving car. That was followed by an email to BusinessInsider from an unnamed Apple employee saying that Apple is working on something that "will give Tesla a run for its money." Elon Musk has also recently admitted that Apple has been trying to lure its employees away. The Wall Street Journal investigated and found that Apple does indeed have a secret project codenamed "Titan". The project is said to be led by Steve Zadesky, a former Ford engineer. Among the other 150 or so Apple employees working on the project are Marc Newson, who created a concept car for Ford, and Johann Jungswirth, former head of R&D for Mercedes-Benz North America. Although it hasn't been confirmed that Titan is centered on developing an electric car, these developments at least give that notion plausibility.
Apple completed its first sale of Swiss franc bonds on Tuesday, and raised $1.35 billion in doing so. The company is taking advantage of record low interest rates. An $875 million Swiss franc bond that will mature in 2024 will yield .281% while the $375 million 15 year bond will yield .75%.
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Tim Cook announced last week that Apple will purchase $850 million worth of green energy from First Solar Inc. The energy will be collected by First Solar's California Flats Solar Project, a solar farm that is slated to be built by the end of 2016. The energy will power Apple's campus, stores and offices throughout California for the next 25 years. Having been purchased at a fixed price, the deal will provide for "very significant savings" for Apple.
Two more notable organizations became Apple Pay partners last week - the U.S. Federal government and JetBlue. In his speech at the Whitehouse summit on cyber security and privacy, Tim Cook announced that, starting in September, Apple Pay will be a viable payment method for government services. JetBlue Airlines announced last week that, starting this week, customers will be able to use Apple Pay for in-flight purchases and seat upgrades.
The long awaited Apple TV refresh may be coming this fall, according to Piper Jaffray analyst, Gene Munster. In a note to investors he wrote that he believes the updated set top box will be a core item in Apple's fall lineup. He expects it will have updated software and hardware, and that it will be integrated with HomeKit. He also believes that Apple is working on offering content over the web, something akin to Dish's Sling TV service.