Drum Roll, Please. Apple’s Stock Closes Above $500

Shares of Apple (AAPL) closed above $500 today for the first time, ending the day at $502.60. Apple, the world’s most valuable company, now boasts a market capitalization of almost $470 billion. That is up 9 points from yesterday’s close, and up more than 80 from where the stock was the day Apple announced its impressive quarter on January 24th. Everybody was blown away by the numbers.

The $500 mark is a psychological milestone. But many Apple bulls have been predicting it. What you need to look at really is the market cap. And while $470 billion is astounding, it is not unprecedented (during the 1990s boom, companies like Microsoft, Cisco, and GE reached that height). Also, it is important to remember that Apple holds nearly $100 billion in cash. Without that cash, it’s market value presumably would be less.

In fact, Apple’s share price moves in lockstep with its ever-increasing cash position. Horace Dediu at Asymco has plotted out the correlation between the stock price and Apple’s cash. According to Dediu’s calculations, Apple’s stock hit $500 right on schedule.