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Apple shares on verge of record high after Buffett’s investment

Shares of Apple rose nearly 2 percent on Monday and were on the verge of hitting a record high after billionaire Warren Buffett talked up his company’s stake in the iPhone maker.

Apple’s stock rose to as much as US$179.14, just short of its US$179.26 record close on Jan. 18 and shaking off a sell-off of more than 10 percent earlier this month following a lackluster quarterly report.

“If you look at Apple, I think it earns almost twice as much as the second most profitable company in the United States,” Buffett told CNBC, which first reported.

In an interview with CNBC on Monday, Buffett said his company, Berkshire Hathaway, had bought more Apple shares than any other stock over the past year. He also praised Apple’s ability to retain customers in its iPhone ecosystem.

In February, Berkshire had said its Apple stake grew by about 23 percent since the end of September to roughly 165.3 million shares. The billionaire investor recently sold out of an unsuccessful investment in IBM Corp, at the same time he was buying Apple.

Buffett has praised Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook and suggested he views Apple more as a consumer company, despite its Silicon Valley pedigree.

Apple reported $61.1 billion in revenue for the March quarter, up from $52.9 billion last year, and promised $100 billion in additional stock buybacks.