Cue the Apple "iCahn" jokes. Apple's stock topped the $500 mark Wednesday for the first time since January. Shares moved higher for a second day on the news that activist investor Carl Icahn has taken a "large" position in the company.
Shares crossed the psychologically important level and climbed as high as $504.25 in afternoon trading, before settling just below the mark at $498.50.
Still, the recent gains have boosted Apple's value by $28 billion in just two days ... to more than $452 billion.
Apple's (AAPL) stock has been on a roller coaster ride during the last year, as investors have grown worried about a lack of new products. Shares hit a 17-month low below $400 in April. Even though they've clawed back lately, Apple's shares are still almost 30% below the all-time high above $700 reached last September.
Icahn, who is known for taking large stakes in companies so he can influence management to make changes, revealed his investment in Apple in a pair of tweets Tuesday afternoon. He said he believes the company is "extremely undervalued." He also said that he and Apple CEO Tim Cook had a "nice conversation," during which he pushed for a large share buyback soon.
According to news reports, Icahn's stake is valued at $1.5 billion and he wants Apple to increase the company's $100 billion dividend and buyback plan to $150 billion. The size of Icahn's position in Apple will likely be revealed this week in a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Apple said in a statement Tuesday that it appreciates "the interest and investment of all our shareholders, and confirmed that Cook and Icahn "had a very positive conversation."
Icahn isn't the first activist hedge fund manager to urge Apple to do more with its cash. David Einhorn slammed Apple for "hoarding" billions in cash back in February. Two months later, Apple announced its plan to return $100 billion to shareholders over the next three years through a dividend and share buybacks.
The recent ups and downs in the stock market may be frustrating, but one strategist said the break in the rally is also creating an attractive entry point for investors who remained on the sidelines during the first few months of the year.
"The market has been up, but a majority of investors have not participated," said Nathan Rowader, director of investments and senior market strategist at Forward Management, an investment MOREHibah Yousuf - Jun 14, 2013 10:31 AM ET
Instead of using its own cash hoard to reward shareholders, Apple plans to go into debt for the first time ever.
Apple CEO Tim Cook said late Tuesday that the company will double the amount it returns to shareholders through share buybacks and dividends by 2015, but will "access the debt market" to pay for it.
Borrowing money seems odd for a company like Apple (AAPL), which has $144 billion in cash. But more than MOREHibah Yousuf - Apr 24, 2013 2:47 PM ET
Paul R. La Monica - Apr 17, 2013 4:32 PM ET
Colgate-Palmolive announced plans Thursday to offer a 2-for-1 stock split and hike its quarterly dividend by 10%.
Shares of Colgate (CL), which have rallied 11% this year, edged higher in early trading.
The stock split will take effect after the close of business on April 23. Shareholders will receive one additional share of Colgate common stock for each share they own as of that date.
On a pre-split basis, Colgate will now pay MOREBen Rooney - Mar 7, 2013 12:17 PM ET
Even the dollar value menu couldn't coax consumers to McDonald's in July.
Same-store sales were flat in the United States and Europe, and sales were down 1.5% throughout Asia, the Middle East and Africa.
The house that Ronald McDonald built did try but "promotional activity" couldn't offset the sluggish global economy, the company said in a statement. One bright spot was the most important meal of the day: Breakfast.
McDonald's (MCD) said consumers MORECatherine Tymkiw - Aug 8, 2012 3:49 PM ET
|The $1.3 trillion student loan problem facing Betsy DeVos|
|Top Trump aide: Coal doesn't make 'much sense anymore'|
|How this couple paid off $200,000 of debt in 2 years|
|How America's immigrant workforce is changing|
|Mark Zuckerberg supports universal basic income. What is it?|