Apple Stock ($AAPL) Up 50% So Far This Year

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Apple is hot. I’m not talking about the temperature of the new iPads, I’m talking about its stock. At around 3pm ET today, Apple traded at a new all-time intraday high $609.65 a share, up more than 50% for the year. The stock finished 2011 at $405 and closed today at $602.50, up nearly $200 a share (+48.77%) year-to-date. One share is now worth more than a new 32GB iPad.

Apple’s soaring stock is clobbering the rest of the market, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up “just” 7% and NASDAQ Composite up 18% year-to-date. The NASDAQ Composite makes up 2,500 companies, but Apple accounts for 12% of the index. [PDF] Apple alone has contributed one-quarter of the entire NASDAQ Composite yearly gain, according to the folks at NASDAQ who ran the numbers for me.

Surprisingly, Apple is not included in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, despite being the world’s most valuable publicly traded company with a market cap of $562 billion. The stated purpose of the DJIA is “to provide a clear, straightforward view of the stock market and, by extension, the U.S. economy.”

Clearly, it’s missing a huge gap by not including Apple. It’s also much lower than it would be had it included Apple. The Dow Industrials is a price weighted average (the Dow Divisor is now 0.132129493 [PDF]), so hypothetically if Apple had been included at the start of this year, it would be 1,495 points higher. Think Dow 14,619, instead of 13,124.

An investor would have been wise to follow MG Siegler’s advice last October when Apple stock dropped 5.5% in one day. MG wrote a post called “If You Sold Your Apple Stock, You’re An Idiot.” If you sold, you would have missed out on a big gain. At the time, Apple failed to beat Wall Street expectations in its Q4 earnings and fell from a then all-time closing high to under $400 a share, more than $200 a share below today’s price.

Disclosure: I sadly do not own any shares of Apple stock.
Chart via Google Finance.