The stock price of Apple is soaring after reporting record-breaking financial results for the first quarter of fiscal 2015 yesterday.

The shares of the company are trading around $117.36 per share, up by more than 7% at the time of this writing at 1:12 in the afternoon in New York.

Apple Net Profit Sets New World Record; Stock Soars

Apple sets new world record, says S&P

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) reported a net profit of $18 billion or $3.06 per share on $74.6 billion in revenue for the first quarter. Its financial results significantly exceeded the $2.60 in earnings per share on $63.5 billion in revenue estimated by Wall Street analysts.

In terms of iPhone sales, Apple sold 74.5 million units compared with the 68 million consensus estimate by analysts polled by FactSet.

According to Standard& Poor’s (S&P), Apple set a new world record for the most profitable quarter in the history of any company. The credits rating agency noted that Apple’s $18 billion net profit is significantly higher than the $15.9 billion net profit recorded by Exxon Mobil on 2012.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said, “the execution by our teams to achieve these results was simply phenomenal.”

Capital return program is the next catalyst for Apple

Multiple analysts and observers in the technology industry immediately issued bullish comments on Apple following its blockbuster quarterly performance.

Tyler Durden of Zero Hedge emphasized that Apple’s cash pile is more than the market cap of 17 companies listed the S&P 500 including Bank of America, Intel, Visa and others.  Given its huge cash pile, the iPhone maker is capable of acquiring many of the world’s largest companies and its competitors.  Apple has $178 billion cash pile.

Analysts at RBC Capital Markets commented that Apple might increase its capital program to more than $200 billion in three years given its huge cash pile.  The analysts raised their price target for the shares of Apple to $130 per share.

Last April, Apple indicated its intention to return more than $130 billion to shareholders by the end of 2015. Yesterday, Cook revealed that the company already returned $103 billion.

Analysts at JP Morgan believed that Apple is poised for “multiple new product launches that are likely to reinvigorate earnings growth relative to Street expectations.”

Meanwhile, Cowen and Company analyst, Tim Arcuri believed Apple’s capital return program will be the next factor that would help boost the company’s earnings growth.  He reiterated his Outperform rating for the shares of Apple.

Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White maintained his Buy rating for Apple and increased his price target to $160 per share. BMO Capital Markets analyst Keith Bachman reiterated his Outperform rating and raised his price target to $130 per share.