Shares of Apple hit $600 for the first time, boosting the computer and electronics developer’s market capitalization above $560 billion. Apple

Apple took nearly a quarter of fourth-quarter 2011 global smartphone shipments that skyrocketed 55 percent, market researcher International Data reported.

Apple, bolstered by sales of the new iPhone 4S as well as older iPhone 3 and iPhone 4 models, accounted for 23 percent of all of the 158 million smartphones sold last quarter, Framingham, Mass.-based IDC said, a gain of 7 percent over the 2010 ranking.

However, Samsung Electronics, with its Galaxy line, was right behind Apple, IDC said, with nearly the same percentage, more than double the 2010 figure.

The market share of former leader Nokia of Finland declined 50 percent to only 12 percent, IDC reported, while that of Canadian BlackBerry developer Research in Motion dwindled to only 8.2 percent from 14 percent in 2010's fourth quarter.

Taiwan manufacturer HTC held a 6.5 percent share, down from 8.5 percent in 2010.

Shares of Apple rose 99 cents to $464.16 in midday trading, as shares of RIM fell 28 cents, to $16.60.