Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) closed above $600 a share for the first time Monday after announcing a $10 billion share buyback with plans for a $2.65 share dividend later this year.
Apple shares closed at $601.10, up $15.53 or $2.65 percent, after announcing before market opening the three-year campaign to spend as much as $45 billion to reward shareholders. Last week, the shares briefly traded above $600.
More than 30 million shares traded, higher than normal for the Cupertino, Calif., computers, smartphones and electronics developer. The record close lifted Apple's market capitalization to $560.45 billion, keeping the title as the most valuable company.
Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM), No. 2, closed at $86.99, up 55 cents, raising its market value to $410 billion.
CEO Tim Cook explained part of the rationale for the dividend and buyback was to attract a different investor clientele, targeting institutions that seek dividend income. The rally may have kept Monday's overall market just barely positive, as the S&P 500 Index rose to 1,409.75, up 0.40 percent.
The Nasdaq average, which includes Apple, rose 23.06 points to 3,078.32, up 0.75 percent.
The overall Apple move was welcomed by investors who had complained the company, with cash and investments exceeding $97.6 billion in December, ought to reward investors because it had not had a stock split since 2005 or a dividend for year before that.
To be sure, the return on Apple shares, including Monday's surge, is 48 percent in 2012 alone and 82 percent over the past year.
David Zielenziger is a veteran editor and journalist who has written for newspapers including the Baltimore Sun, Asian Wall Street Journal and EETimes, as well as for...