Apple heats up, closes at 2013 high heading into holidays

Apple Stock 2013 High

Apple’s weak Black Friday deals didn’t scare investors on Friday as shares climbed as much as 2% before closing up 1.85% at $556.07, the highest close the stock has managed thus far in 2013. Shares are still off from their 12-month high of $589.36 on November 29th, 2012, exactly one year ago Friday. There’s no question that Apple is heating up though — shares gained 6.4% in November after having gained 9.6% during the month of October.

The stock was still climbing during Friday’s after-hours session.

As the holiday shopping season kicks into high gear, sales of Apple’s flagship iPhone 5s are expected to drive huge results in Apple’s fiscal first quarter, though growth is expected to slow substantially. In the year-ago quarter, Apple racked up a record $13.1 billion net profit on record sales of $54.5 billion, which was up from $46.3 billion in revenue in FQ1 2011.

Following Apple’s recent fourth-quarter report last month, analysts expected the company to post holiday-quarter revenue of about $55.65 billion, which would represent growth of just 2%.

Apple’s iPhone 5s remains in high demand two months following its record-smashing debut, however, and Apple’s manufacturing partner Foxconn is reportedly now building 500,000 new iPhone 5s handsets per day to keep up with consumer demand. Sales of the new iPad Air and Retina iPad mini are expected to be strong as well, and Apple’s entry into new product categories in 2014 is expected by bulls to be the next big catalyst that pushes shares further north.

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