by Rick Ackerman
AAPL remains in thrall to madmen, mountebanks and keister bandits, although this crew could run out of room to manipulate the stock moonward very shortly. The Cupertino firm’s shares rose $10 on Thursday, settling at 472.83 and adding a total of $40 billion of ‘wealth’ to the net worth of Switzerland and, probably, every homeowner within three blocks of Malibu Beach. From here it’s no more than a three-day climb to 490.97, a potentially important rally target that Rick’s Picks subscribers have been using to suspend disbelief as Apple’s valuation inched toward, and now above, the $2 trillion mark. Analysts say the manufacturer’s smartphones and computers are selling well, but of course they’d have to be selling well indeed for the company to rack up the highest valuation of any company in the history of the world.