Apple $700 Stock Price Set By Analysts

Apple Stock – Wednesday’s index finished down slightly as Apple (AAPL) reached $600 for the first time after two analysts set price targets of more than $700 for the stock. But the company, too, fell back.

The Dow closed up 16 points to 13,194. The S&P 500 was off 2 points to 1,394. The Nasdaq carved out a 1-point gain to 3,041. The Nasdaq-100 Index ($NDX), which tracks the largest Nasdaq stocks and is heavily influenced by Apple, was up 11 points to 2,708, but most stocks in the index were lower.

Apple contributed more than 18 points to the Nasdaq-100, but only 31 Nasdaq-100 stocks were higher. The winners included a lot of heavy hitters, including Microsoft (MSFT), Dell (DELL), Google (GOOG) and chip-maker Altera (ALTR).

Apple’s market capitalization is now $544.9 billion, nearly double Microsoft’s market cap — even as Microsoft hit a 52-week high of $32.88 before closing up 10 cents to $32.77.

Home-furnishings retailer Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) was the Nasdaq-100 leader, up $2.92 to $65.47 after hitting an all-time high of $65.65. Bernstein analysts boosted their estimates for same-store sales growth.

Citigroup slumps on stress-test failureStocks hit their best levels in years on Tuesday after bank stocks mostly rose in expectation that stress tests on the 19 largest institutions would show most in very good shape. The test essentially wanted to know if the institutions could survive a financial crisis not unlike the 2008 crash.

Fifteen institutions met the Fed’s standards for capital even after boosting dividends and buying back shares. Four did not: Citigroup (C), SunTrust Banks (STI), MetLife (MET) and Ally Financial. Ally Financial is basically the old General Motors Acceptance Corp. but is now owned by the government, Cerberus Capital, General Motors (GM) and others.

Citigroup and MetLife suffered the most today, down $1.24 to $35.21 and $2.30 to $37.16, respectively. SunTrust was up $1.03 to $23.61, in part because the company said it is enjoying a strong first quarter and expects earnings to beat analyst estimates.

Regions Financial (RF) was the best performer of the 19, up 40 cents to $6.17. The reason: It passed the stress test and will sell new common stock to get itself out of the government’s Trouble Asset Relief Program (TARP), the emergency measure instituted to stabilized the banking system in 2008.

As noted, only 31 Nasdaq shares were higher. While Bed Bath & Beyond and Apple were the winners, Electronic Arts (EA) and Randgold Resources (GOLD) were the laggards.

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