Summary Box: Apple stock breaks $500 level

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NEW MILESTONE: Apple’s stock broke above $500 for the first time Monday. It was the latest step in a rally that began more than two weeks ago, when the company reported staggering sales and profits for the holiday quarter.

THE DETAILS: The shares hit $503.83 soon after opening, before subsiding to $502.60 in after-hours trading.

BETTER THAN OIL: Apple Inc. and Exxon Mobil Corp. have been vying for the position as most valuable company in the world since last summer. The latest rally has made the gadget maker 17 percent more valuable than Exxon’s.