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Apple Moves From #59 to #4 In Barron’s 500

In its annual Top 500 list of American companies that have generated “the most revenue growth and cash returns”, Barron’s outlines how Apple has jumped from the 59th position to #4 thanks to strong sales of iPhones, iPads and iPods, as well as revenue coming from the classic line of desktop and portable Macs. And whilst the Barron’s 500 list “honors companies for past success”, but doesn’t guarantee profitable success, high demand for the recently released iPad 2 (defined “staggering” by Apple COO Tim Cook at the company’s Q2 2011 earnings call) and the updated MacBook Air line (rumored to go under a refresh in a few weeks to feature Thunderbolt and Sandy Bridge processors) seems to suggest that Apple’s 2011 is off to go a very profitable start.

Apple, ranked No. 4 this year, has done all that to perfection. It has generated stellar sales growth and handsome profits from the iPod, iPhone and related products, and its shares have rallied 321%, to 347, since the stock market bottomed in March 2009. Yet the stock, which trades for only 12.2 times next year’s expected earnings, still isn’t richly valued. Other tech stocks, including Western Digital, Research In Motion, Broadcom and EMC, also rank among this year’s top 20.

Last week, Apple ranked 35th in Fortune 500 list of top American companies, surpassing both Microsoft and Boeing, ranked at 38th and 36th, respectively. Ranking #1 in Barron’s 500 is Oshkosh, a truck maker, with packaged food maker J.M. Smucker hitting the #2 spot.

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