The Apple logo is seen on the facade of the new Apple Store in Paris, France, January 5, 2017. Reuters/Charles Platiau

Apple Inc.’s shares enjoyed a 52-week high, as the stock upped by about 1.3 percent last Thursday to close the week at US$136.66 (AU$177.64). For the year to date, Apple stock has increased by about 18 percent. With this achievement, it maintains its position as the Dow Jones Industrial Average's best performing stock this year.

The stock was largely helped by speculation surrounding the company’s highly anticipated iPhone 8. Several rumours regarding new inclusions have made it to the market. Some of the most discussed features include a glass sandwich design, borderless OLED screen, wireless charging and augmented-reality technology.

The market cap of Apple is steadily approaching US$717 billion (AU$932.02 billion), which marks an increase of US$5 billion (AU$6.5 billion) in just one week. The shares had added almost 46 percent between last May (when the stock suffered a 52-week low) and last week. Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average for the same period was up by 15.8 percent and the Nasdaq Composite was up by about 19.4 percent.

The news of Apple’s gains comes as former US vice president Al Gore, who is an Apple board member, sold more than 200,000 shares of company stock, worth US$29.5 million (AU$37.7 million), last week. He currently owns more than 230,000 shares of Apple stock.

Gore, who joined Apple’s board of directors in 2003, bought 70,000 shares earlier this month at US$13 (AU$16.9) per share. Subsequently, he sold them at market prices, profiting about US$8 million (AU$10.4 million). As noted by CNBC, Gore has sold shares worth more than US$37.5 million (AU48.75 million) this month. According to Apple’s 2017 proxy statement, Gore will be running for re-election to Apple’s board at the upcoming shareholder’s meeting on Tuesday.

On Thursday, BMO Capital Markets analyst Tim Long upped his price target on Apple stock. "We are updating our Apple model in anticipation of iPhone portfolio changes expected in 2017," he said in a research report. "We believe Apple will introduce a higher-priced model (or potentially two) in September alongside the standard iterative refresh to iPhone 7. We are raising our ASP (average selling price) estimates in conjunction with the higher mix."

Meanwhile, Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. has also increase its investment in Apple. Berkshire Hathaway owns 1.1 percent of Apple and is the tech giant’s eighth largest shareholder.