$40, $50, $60, $70, $80, $90, $100 billion and counting. This is how the world's most valuable company has increased its cash over the last 3 years. Whenever companies sit on huge cash piles, there are always 2 possibilities. First, companies become conservative, especially post-recession years, in capital investments and hiring, and reports plethora of cash to combat another economic stress. Second, companies face controversial times from the investors. We strongly believe that Apple falls in to second choice.
When do companies pay dividends and when do they repurchase shares? Simple answers and simple signals. When a company believes that there are no more opportunities to invest money, acquire assets or there is a shrinking room for current above average growth, they pay dividends to reward investors. And when a company believes that their equity is undervalued, they repurchase some shares in the market. I have not performed any equity fundamentals on $AAPL and this is why I cannot say if its equity market value is undervalued or overvalued. But I can somehow convince myself that there is some decrease in growth is forecast by the management after a dream post-recession run and paying dividends is the best way to keep investors tagged along.
As I heard and expected over the last few months, Apple has finally announced to pay dividends and $10 billion worth of share repurchase today. Though its dividend yield is less than its peers, it is going to be interesting new chapter for Apple, being considered mature in the market.