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It was at least the third "top companies" list in less than a year that put Apple on top, a strong indication that the Cupertino, Calif.-based company is doing a lot of things right.
Barron's World's Most Respected Company's list is of particular interest because the rankings are determined by a survey of institutional investors. Companies that rank highly on this list tend to outperform in the stock market as well.
Investors were asked to rank the companies on a four-point scale, so, just like in college, a 4.0 represents a perfect score. Apple earned a 3.94, easily besting Berkshire's 3.58.
The magazine called Apple's high marks "an expression of confidence in its CEO, Tim Cook, and [the company's] performance in the post-Jobs era."
Apple's investor-friendly moves over the past year, including a large AAPL stock buyback program, dividend increase, and a 7-for-1 stock split were among the reasons cited by those surveyed.
And the rise of Apple stock – it's up nearly 65% in the past 12 months – surely has made a favorable impression as well.
But the Barron's survey is just the latest feather in Apple's corporate cap. Last fall, AAPL topped Interbrand's 14th annual Best Global Brands Report.
In that report, Interbrand, a brand consultancy company, lists what it has determined are the world's 100 most valuable brands and assigns a dollar value to each.
Apple's brand value rose 28% from the previous year to a stunning $98.3 billion, ending a 13-year run by The Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO) as the No. 1 brand.
The brand value is a "net present value," which essentially determines what the brand is worth both now and in the future. Clearly, the stronger the brand, the more sales it generates.
"For revolutionizing the way we work, play, and communicate – and for mastering the ability to surprise and delight – Apple has set a high bar for aesthetics, simplicity, and ease of use that all other tech brands are now expected to match, and that Apple itself is expected to continually exceed," Interbrand said in explaining the results.
And earlier this year, Apple was No. 1 on yet a third prestigious list…