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Apple shares near an all-time high

Apple has found its groove again.

Shares of the iPhone maker hit $133.82 in early trading on Monday, putting Apple within $1 of its intraday trading high of $134.54 reached in April 2015. Apple shares ended the day lower $133.29, surpassing its previous record closing price of $133, set in February. 2015

Rising stocks, pushing Apple (AAPL) at a market capitalization of $700 billion, it comes amid renewed optimism for the iPhone.

Goldman Sachs raised its price target for the stock on Monday, citing the likelihood of “important new features” such as “3D sensing” being added to the next iPhone model, according to an investor note provided to CNNMoney.

Apple’s previous high was set six months after launching the redesigned iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, kicking off what CEO Tim Cook described as the “mother of all updates”.

Since then, however, Apple has broken with its tradition of reviewing the iPhone every two years. The newest models on the market today look nearly identical to the iPhones available in late 2014.

The long wait, combined with this year marking the iPhone’s 10th anniversary, has only heightened expectations that Apple is about to significantly overhaul its smartphone and revive demand.

Related: Tim Cook: ‘Apple Wouldn’t Exist Without Immigration’

Apple’s annual sales fell in fiscal 2016 for the first time since 2001 as iPhone sales, which remain the bulk of its business, fell for three straight quarters.

Apple even cut its CEO’s salary by 15% because the company failed to meet its performance targets for both sales and profits.

But that losing streak just ended.

Apple’s sales began to grow again in the December quarter, fueled by higher demand for the iPhone, particularly the larger and more expensive iPhone 7 Plus.

The company sold 78.3 million iPhones during the quarter, setting a new record. At least some of that may be due to Samsung’s smartphone recall issues.

Mark Moskowitz, an analyst at William Blair, wrote in a note to investors this month: “Samsung’s Note 7 struggles probably helped.”

The iPhone isn’t the only reason Wall Street is excited about Apple. There is also President Trump.

Despite Trump clashing with Apple during the campaign, investors are now optimistic that Apple will benefit from at least one Trump proposal: cutting taxes on cash that US companies bring in from their accounts abroad.

Apple currently has $230 billion in cash in offshore accounts. If Trump and Congress make it cheap for Apple to get that money back, it could be used for acquisitions and buybacks.

CNNMoney (New York) First Posted Feb 13, 2017: 12:24pm ET


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