1. Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500) announced that it would put $30 billion of its cash toward share repurchases. The news made investors happy: The stock popped, and even a week later was up 12% relative to the S&P over that same 7-day period. The buybacks were part of a larger $130 billion capital return program that the company said would extend through 2015.
2. Technology and telecoms are on the up as are some fast food companies, including Starbucks, which BrandZ puts in this category, and McDonald's, whose brand value is risen by nine per cent even though its ranking is unchanged.