Apple stock is chugging right along today, heading for a new high for 2013. According to 9to5 Mac, the high price for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) this year so far is $549. At that point, Apple’s market capitalization was more than $500 billion, and it’s heading that way again, closing in on $490 billion as of this writing.

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Where to next for Apple stock?

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) shares have seen mostly downward momentum for much of the year, but it looks like that is changing. But in spite of that downward momentum, Apple’s stock price has kept it the world’s most valuable company for most of the year. Shares fell below $400 in April, but steady earnings and promising iPhone 5S sales numbers have helped to turn things around.

Today Apple stock rose by about 2% in late afternoon trading.

Apple breaks out of trading range

Forbes contributor Chuck Jones noted that Tuesday was the first day Apple stock was remained in positive territory since Jan. 3. However, shares till remain down 24% from its all-time high in September 2012.

Shares of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) were kept in a tight trading range for more than a month, staying between about $512 and $532 a share. Jones said from looking at its Relative Strength Index, which was 63.34, Apple stock was overbought by a bit. However, he says that only happened within the last two days. He said if Apple managed to pull out of that range, then it could convince some traders who work purely from charts to get back into the company. It will be interesting to see what the data tells us next week when we will have a better picture of this and whether Apple can stay over that $532 mark.

This year’s Apple seems more like two years ago

Jones suggests that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) this year seems more like it did two years ago even though it is in a different phase of its life. He said the company is holding close to its guidance and expectations, but it has managed to stabilize margins and could grow earnings per share for the first time in more than a year.

He expects to see Apple stock move higher ahead of the company’s December quarter earnings results as investors anticipate good numbers. He thinks the negative sentiment which has hung on Apple all year long could be broken if the company posts even better gross margins and better-than-expected results overall.