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AAPL hits $500

Shares in Apple have reached a new all-time high today, pausing briefly at the stratospheric height of $503.83 this morning before dropping slightly below that level. It wasn't all that long ago -- three months -- that Apple shares were quavering around $360.

There's more to come. Seeking Alpha's Robert Paul Leitao has now set a 2012 price target of $790 per share for AAPL. Leitao does note that if Apple takes the step of beginning to pay quarterly dividends, that could affect the share price in a very positive way: "Extraordinary events such as a resumption of a regular quarterly dividend or a share split are also not factored into this share price forecast and may accelerate the pace at which the shares approach this $790 price target."

[Stock charts via NASDAQ.com]

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