Apple climbed 1.9 percent to finish at $502.60 on Monday afternoon. All major U.S. indices also rallied, with the Dow gaining 0.57 percent to 12,874 points. The S&P 500 Index gained 0.7 percent, and the Nasdaq Composite Index rallied 0.95 percent.
Apple rallied after the Greek Parliament approved new austerity measures demanded by the eurozone, which would clear the way for a new bailout for the debt-ridden country. The news sent broader markets in the United States and Europe higher on Monday, extending the bull market of 2012.
So far this year, Apple shares are up by more than 20 percent, partly due to a knockout quarter on stellar iPhone sales. In addition, investors are eagerly awaiting the upcoming iPad 3 tablet computer, which is rumored to be unveiled in March.
In a Bloomberg survey, analysts have an average price target for Apple of $575.56 per share, which would propel the company past a market capitalization of $500 billion, last achieved by oil giant ExxonMobil Corp. in 2007. On Monday night, Apple’s market cap stood at $468 billion, which makes it the most valuable company in the world by market capitalization.
In the latest quarter, Apple reported cash reserves of $98 billion. On a conference call with analysts on Jan. 24, CFO Peter Oppenheimer alluded to certain internal discussions regarding its cash, including using it for dividends or share repurchase. While Apple has never paid a dividend, investors have clamored for a cash dividend for years.