Apple to pay dividend, start stock buybacks

Associated Press Modified: March 19, 2012 at 8:15 am •  Published: March 19, 2012
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NEW YORK (AP) — Apple Inc. is finally using its $98 billion cash hoard to reward shareholders, saying it's instituting both a dividend and share buyback program.

Investors' expectation that Apple would soon declare a dividend has already bolstered the stock of the world's most valuable company, driving its market capitalization to about $546 billion.

Apple said Monday that it will pay a quarterly dividend of $2.65 per share, starting in its fiscal fourth quarter, which begins July 1.

The dividend works out to $10.60 annually, or a 1.8 percent yield at the current stock price. That's below the yield of other big technology companies like Microsoft Corp., currently at 2.5 percent, and Hewlett-Packard Co., at 2 percent.

A $10 billion share buyback program will begin next fiscal year, which starts Sept. 30, and run for three years.

Apple is sitting on $97.6 billion in cash and securities. For years, it has resisted calls to reward shareholders with some of that money. Since the death of CEO Steve Jobs, management has signaled that it's been considering options for the money.

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