On Tuesday, Apple Inc. became the first American company ever to record a market capitalization above $700 billion at the close of the stock market, ending the day at $710.7 billion. Apple had previously touched that mark in December, but had fallen below before closing. The company's shares rose by 2 percent throughout the day, and its total market value is nearly double that of its closest tech competitor, Google, which is at $365 billion.
As NBC Nightly News' Lester Holt put it during his Tuesday broadcast, "that's roughly the equivalent of $100 for every man, woman and child on Earth — not that they're planning on giving it away."
The two percent jump came on the day when Apple announced an $850 million deal with photovoltaic manufacturer First Solar by which it will purchase solar energy directly from a California plant. It is the biggest deal ever signed for the purchase of solar energy without a utility company acting as intermediary. Construction of the plant will begin in the summer and is scheduled to run through late 2016.
Besides the environmental implications, such a move makes business sense for Apple too, and in fact other corporations in various industries have reached similar agreements, albeit on a smaller scale. The contract will provide Apple with 25 years' worth of electricity, more than enough to power its Cupertino headquarters, at fixed rates.
"Given Apple's powerful iPhone cycle, a big 4G ramp in China and the upcoming launch of Apple Watch in April, we believe there is still plenty to look forward to at Apple during this transformational cycle," wrote Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White in a note to investors.
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