Apple Inc. has become the first U.S. company to close with a market cap of more than $700 billion, nearly doubling the market cap of its closest rival, Exxon Mobil. Apple’s share price closed nearly 2 points up at $122.02 with a market cap of $710.72 billion on the NASDAQ exchange.

At more than $700 billion, Apple is twice as valuable as Microsoft ($349.6 billion); Exxon closed with a market cap of $384.32 billion.

It's the second time Apple has flirted with $700 billion. In November, Apple crossed the milestone briefly only to fall back by the end of the day. The record came as CEO Tim Cook said the company was committed to providing all of its California offices, retail stores and a data center with a massive $850 million solar farm in Monterrey County, California.

In the grand scheme of things, $700 billion is more meaningful as a psychic milestone than anything else. It caps a hugely successful iPhone 6 launch, driven by expansion in China and the rest of Asia, as investors await its next potentially transformative product, Apple Watch, coming in April.

Since the launch of the iPhone 6 in September, Apple hasn’t been the least bit shy about smashing records, including the most iPhones sold in the first weekend of sales. And just last month, it set a record for U.S. corporate earnings, posting profits of $18 billion on $74.6 billion in revenue during its fiscal 2015 first-quarter.

The U.S. continues to be Apple’s largest market. But it has also taken particular interest in China, rapidly expanding its online and physical retail presence ahead of the Chinese New Year, which falls on Feb. 19.


Apple Market Cap Apple's market cap has risen nearly 60 percent over the past year Photo: Yahoo Finance