Apple Returns to Perch as Dow Top-Performing Stock

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For the first time since May of last year, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) has returned to the top of the chart as the Dow Jones industrial average’s best-performing stock for the year to date. The stock traded about flat for the first two days of the week and bounced — along with the Dow itself — on Wednesday. Apple stock added 4.84% last week, and for the year to date has added 28.6%.

The second-best performer among the Dow index equities so far this year is Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE), which is up 27.5%. That is followed by Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT), up 25.8%, Visa Inc. (NYSE: V), up 24%, and Merck & Co. Inc. (NYSE: MRK), up 22.7%. Of the 30 Dow stocks, 17 have managed to post a gain to date in 2018.

The blue-chip index added nearly 356 points last week to close at 25,669.32, up about 1.4% compared to the previous Friday’s close. The Dow closed up less than 1% for the second quarter, and down 1.8% for the first six months of 2018. For the year to date, the index is up 3.4%, trailing both the S&P 500 (up 5.7%) and the Nasdaq Composite (up 11.6%).

Since reaching the $1 trillion market cap target a couple of weeks ago, Apple has added another $51 billion to its valuation. That’s equal to adding a company the size of General Motors, Deere or AIG.

If there was a catalyst for Apple’s share price increase it was most likely the news that both Warren Buffett and George Soros added to their holdings in the company. Nearly a quarter of Berkshire Hathaway’s portfolio is now tied up in Apple stock.

Apple shares closed Friday at $218.58, in a 52-week trading range of  $149.16 to $217.95. The consensus 12-month price target on the stock is $216.42, and the forward price-to-earnings ratio is 16.05.

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