$700 Apple: Stock price passes landmark

Smartphone shatters sales records in advance of launch

San Jose Mercury NewsSeptember 19, 2012 

Tech Test iphone

The new Apple iPhone 5 goes on sale in stores on Sept. 21. Up to 10 million iPhones could be shipped by the company between the launch date and Sept. 29.

ERIC RISBERG — AP

Apple shares officially broke the $700 price level for the first time Tuesday as demand for the tech giant's newest iteration of the iPhone hit record-breaking levels.

The iPhone 5 began selling on Apple's Web site and the sites of carriers at midnight Pacific time Friday, and demand was so intense that arrival dates were pushed back from the official launch of Sept. 21 within an hour, analysts tracking the orders said.

Apple announced Monday that it had sold 2 million of the devices in the first 24 hours of availability, double the record set by the previous smartphone the company released. The company also said that some customers will not receive their pre-ordered devices until next month due to the high demand.

The popularity of the iPhone, which accounts for more than half of Apple's profits, has pushed the company's stock to record heights, with Apple setting a record last month for largest market capitalization in history, without adjusting for inflation.

Apple stock hit new intraday highs three times last week, and opened at a record $699.88 Tuesday morning before breaking the $700 level at 7 a.m. Pacific time. Shares moved as high as $701.44 before trending lower later in the session.

Apple stock closed at an all-time high of $699.78 Monday, and did increase as high as $701.90 in after-hours trading Monday.

Apple has announced an aggressive launch strategy for the new device. It will be sold in stores in the United States and eight other countries Sept. 21, and will be offered in 100 countries by the end of the year. The move excited analysts, who pushed their estimates for iPhone sales higher and followed that up with higher price targets for Apple stock.

Estimates continued to increase this week, with Canaccord Genuity tech analyst Michael Walkley saying Monday morning that he expects Apple to ship up to 10 million iPhones between launch day Friday and Sept. 29.

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