Apple‘s stock price hit an all-time hight of $431.37 a share in early trading today, pushing its market capitalization above $400 billion. At that price, Apple’s value was higher than the gross domestic product (GDP) of Greece, Austria, Argentina or South Africa, reports CNN. Apple stock has since fallen below its record price, to a little over $429.60, at the time of this writing.

Apple remains the most-valuable technology company in the world, and the second most-valuable company overall. Only Exxon Mobil, which has a current value of about $414 billion, is worth more. The next highest-valued company after Apple is PetroChina, at $270 billion, followed by Microsoft, which has a market value of $235 billion.

With Apple’s gargantuan size, one would expect its stock to fluctuate slowly. Instead, the company is growing by leaps and bounds. It’s stock price has risen around 25 percent over the past year. And when the Cupertino, California-based company announces its fourth quarter 2011 earnings next week, analysts expect its sales to have risen a full 45 percent, compared to the same period the year before.

All of this potential success lies on the shoulders of Tim Cook, who took over as Apple’s chief executive after the death of the company’s infamous co-founder, Steve Jobs, late last year. If market analyst predictions are any indication — and, in this case, they are — there’s little worry that Cook is up for the challenge. Just yesterday, RCB  Capital Markets raised its target price for Apple’s stock to $525 based on “unprecedented” worldwide demand for Apple’s flagship product, the iPhone.

So, what does this mean for you, dear gadget consumer? Nothing much, unless you happen to own a wheelbarrow-full of Apple stock. But considering that people continue to buy Apple’s products in increasing volume is what is helping to pad the pockets of Apple stockholders, feel free to give yourself a pat on the back.