Talk about Apple being the next stock to hit $1,000 highlights a race on Wall Street to reach that milestone.
Priceline, Apple, Google and Intuitive Surgical are in a four-way battle to see which will be the first Standard & Poor's 500 stock to break the $1,000-a-share barrier. Wednesday, Priceline was $745.90, Google $635.15, Apple $624.31 and Intuitive Surgical, which makes robotics for minimally invasive surgery, $543.97.
"It's the new ego boost, to get a stock to $1,000," says Jon Johnson of StockSplits.net. A stock's price, by itself, doesn't indicate how expensively or cheaply valued a company's shares are. And talk of $1,000 might be premature for any of these stocks. Online travel firm Priceline, the closest , is 25% away. Still, investors are starting to think about $1,000 due to:
Updates to price targets. As Priceline and Apple blow past existing price targets, analysts are making adjustments. Topeka Capital Research this week put a $1,000 price target on Apple. Analyst Mike Olson at Piper Jaffray says Priceline could top $1,000 a share in two years or less.
Blistering run by the stocks. Shares of gadget maker Apple, for instance, are up 54% this year. If that pace continues -- something that many analysts say would be a tough accomplishment -- the stock would easily top $1,000 by year's end.
Growth prospects of the companies. Companies in the hunt for $1,000 are in dynamic areas of the global economy. Priceline, for instance, is surging due to expansion outside the U.S., says Scott Kessler of S&P Capital IQ.
Several companies outside the S&P 500 have already passed $1,000, including Seaboard, now trading for $1,900, and Washington Post, which did it in 2004. A current S&P 500 member, class B shares of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, once traded for about $3,500. But that was prior to a 50-for-1 stock split in 2010 before the stock was added to the index. Wednesday it closed at $81.05.
S&P's Kessler rates Google and Priceline as stocks to "hold," as Google digests recent acquisitions and Priceline is fairly valued. Apple needs another hit product before its stock could touch $1,000, says James Ragan of Crowell Weedon.
And Kessler says investors should remember one thing whenever excitement grows over stocks crossing such milestones: "Past performance isn't a predictor of future success."
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