Apple tops Barron’s list of ‘World’s Most Respected Companies’

“Apple is back on top,” Vito J. Racanelli reports for Barron’s. “Last year, Berkshire Hathaway knocked Apple out of the No. 1 spot in Barron’s annual ranking of the world’s most respected companies. But the iEverything maker has reclaimed the throne with a flourish in 2014, its winning score leaving No. 2 Berkshire and others a blur in the rearview mirror.”

“Apple’s comeback from third place last year tracks a similar revival in the company’s shares, which lost almost half of their value in a seven-month span that ended in the spring of 2013,” Racanelli reports. “The stock has since gained more than 60%, to a split-adjusted $90. Cupertino, Calif.–based Apple, whose iPhones, iPads, and Mac computers have enhanced the lives of billions in the developed world, has ranked No. 1 in our survey in four of the past five years.”

“Investors’ respect for corporations doesn’t derive only from operating metrics such as continually improving earnings. In Apple’s case, recent shareholder-friendly moves including a dividend hike, stock buybacks, and a 7-for-1 stock split impressed our survey respondents, a cross-section of U.S. money managers,” Racanelli reports. “Personal experience probably plays a role, too, in judging prominent consumer companies, such as Apple and Google, which held steady at No. 4.”

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