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CNBC: Apple should be world's most valuable company

Apple's latest earnings report has been available for three weeks, and analysts are chiming in with their 2011 assessment of the Cupertino company. Though Apple's stock dipped slightly after Steve Jobs announced another medical leave of absence, the release of the Verizon iPhone and Apple's 2011 forecast is causing the stock to rebound to an all-time high. Currently, the stock is trading at US$356, which is more than $160 higher than the 52-week low.

Apple's stock is trending well and will continue to climb upward according to several analysts who have placed price targets as high as $550, though most are projecting an average price of $467. At its current trading price, Apple market value is hovering at $326 billion. A 32 percent increase into the upper $400s would push Apple's market value to $433.7 billion and propel it past Exxon Mobil, which currently has a market value of $423.2 billion.

This continued climb has prompted some to question whether Apple is ripe for a stock split. The Cupertino company last split its stock in February 2005 when it was trading at $88.99 per share. Now that it is 690 percent higher than its 2005 level, some analysts are suggesting Apple may be ready to drop the price on its stock and let smaller investors into the fold. There are pros and cons to a split, not the least of which is Steve Jobs' desire to see the stock price climb higher. Apple won't comment on this possibility, officially stating "We have not announced any plans for a stock split."

[Via Fortune]

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