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2%-3% dividend suggested as best use of Apple's $100B in cash - Page 2

post #41 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by MackyMoto View Post

Can someone help me understand if paying dividends is a net benefit to investors and if so how. Seems to me that the value of a company's stock is directly related to the company's expected future near term value. So if Apple uses it's cash "hoard" to payout dividends, wouldn't that lessen the company's value and therefore slow the stock's appreciation, ultimately causing a net wash for the investor, since any gain made by virtue of the dividends would be balanced by the less rapid rise of the share value?

Investors know when Apple announces a dividend the share price will go up and that benefits investors and the corporation. Everyone wins if Apple announces a dividend this month. I'm a shareholder already and have patiently waited for it to be deemed the right time by Apple to pay a dividend. I believe this is the year. A stock that gives a dividend becomes a stock that many investment portfolios will want to acquire and that drives the share price even higher. So, the existing sharholders before a dividend announcement have the most to gain since they reap the dividend and the share price jump. And, since Apple's forecast is so profit peachy those new investors will reap the increase going forward too.
An Apple dividend will be a win/win for everyone. Because the share price will reach $850 to $1000 within the next 2 years they also may do a stock split meaning if you've got 1 share worth $550 you'll now have 2 shares worth more than $225 each since that also increases trading activity and company worth.
post #42 of 225
Can someone please explain again how the payout is determined on a dividend. Have read it is based on earnings, someone else posted it is based on share price.
Thanks
Bob
post #43 of 225
i think they should split. i know a lot of people who want to jump on AAPL, but can't right now because the cost of entry is so high.
i know it really doesn't matter whether you buy 1 share at 500 or 10 shares at 50, but when you can't afford 1 share at 500, you aren't going to buy. if you could get 1 share for 50... or 4 shares for 200, the stock is more appealing.

as for dividends or buybacks... Apple obviously knows better than I do when it comes to what to do with money. As long as they keep making profit and the stock keeps rising, they can keep the money.

just my $0.02
post #44 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post

So you'd rather pay zero tax on zero income vs. capital gains on free money?

Apple is not an income stock and I knew that when I want it. It is also not free money. It would devalue the stock. Since I bought it as a growth stock I would prefer that not happen. Eventually I hope to get it all moved into a retirement account, but you know what. I still would not want them devaluing my growth stock to try and pretend it is an income stock.

Your suggestion that the most undervalued growth stock on the market should reduce its value and slow its growth is quite bizarre. Maybe they should take on a huge debt so their enterprise value can go up too. People really need to stop learning about investing by reading random web pages.
post #45 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Oak View Post

It's 3% of the stock price. So, if Apple is at $500, then the payout at 3% would be $15/share. The percentage would go up/down as Apple's stock does. The dollar amount would only change when Apple management makes an adjustment

Apple's "Board of Directors" decide on a dividend, not management.

Apple's Annual Shareholders meeting is less then a month away, that is probably when "the Board" would announce the size/timing of a dividend(if they decided to issue one at all)

Apple has $98bn of cash equivalents, as of Dec 31'11, according to their 10Q. They are generating plenty of cash, but a lot of that is overseas and would be subject to US taxes if Apple repatriates that cash in the form of a dividend to shareholders. Apple would probably would use US earnings to dictate the dividend payout(tax efficient)

I'm hearing Investment Banks have been canvassing "Value Fund Mgrs." about their interest in owning AAPL stock if Apple issued a dividend and presenting those results to the Board.

I suspect some Large Value Mgrs. think Apple will issue a dividend and have proceeded to buy up shares ahead of the announcement leading to the rather large upward movement of AAPL recently.

An initial 2-3% annual dividend payout(roughly $10-15/share) would be extremely POSITIVE for AAPL stock, and I would love to see it.

Apple's operating business would not be affected at all by paying out a dividend.
post #46 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by EdKent View Post

Investors know when Apple announces a dividend the share price will go up and that benefits investors and the corporation. Everyone wins if Apple announces a dividend this month. I'm a shareholder already and have patiently waited for it to be deemed the right time by Apple to pay a dividend. I believe this is the year. A stock that gives a dividend becomes a stock that many investment portfolios will want to acquire and that drives the share price even higher. So, the existing sharholders before a dividend announcement have the most to gain since they reap the dividend and the share price jump. And, since Apple's forecast is so profit peachy those new investors will reap the increase going forward too.
An Apple dividend will be a win/win for everyone. Because the share price will reach $850 to $1000 within the next 2 years they also may do a stock split meaning if you've got 1 share worth $550 you'll now have 2 shares worth more than $225 each since that also increases trading activity and company worth.

I would prefer, they find a better use for the money to help the company grow. I would prefer they not give me a tax liability. I would doubly prefer they not give the company one to give me one.
post #47 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wovel View Post

You apparently have never owned a stock.

Yes I do and one thing I know is that many investors look negatively on companies that don't pay a dividend especially one that's sitting on a stockpile of cash.
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post #48 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by syracuse View Post

Apple's "Board of Directors" decide on a dividend, not management.

Apple's Annual Shareholders meeting is less then a month away, that is probably when "the Board" would announce the size/timing of a dividend(if they decided to issue one at all)

Apple has $98bn of cash equivalents, as of Dec 31'11, according to their 10Q. They are generating plenty of cash, but a lot of that is overseas and would be subject to US taxes if Apple repatriates that cash in the form of a dividend to shareholders. Apple would probably would use US earnings to dictate the dividend payout(tax efficient)

I'm hearing Investment Banks have been canvassing "Value Fund Mgrs." about their interest in owning AAPL stock if Apple issued a dividend and presenting those results to the Board.

I suspect some Large Value Mgrs. think Apple will issue a dividend and have proceeded to buy up shares ahead of the announcement leading to the rather large upward movement of AAPL recently.

An initial 2-3% annual dividend payout(roughly $10-15/share) would be extremely POSITIVE for AAPL stock, and I would love to see it.

Apple's operating business would not be affected at all by paying out a dividend.

That presumes you know what Apple's long term plans are for the cash.
post #49 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wovel View Post

Apple is not an income stock and I knew that when I want it. It is also not free money. It would devalue the stock. Since I bought it as a growth stock I would prefer that not happen. Eventually I hope to get it all moved into a retirement account, but you know what. I still would not want them devaluing my growth stock to try and pretend it is an income stock.

Your suggestion that the most undervalued growth stock on the market should reduce its value and slow its growth is quite bizarre. Maybe they should take on a huge debt so their enterprise value can go up too. People really need to stop learning about investing by reading random web pages.

Why can't AAPL be BOTH a growth and income stock?

Paying a dividend has ZERO impact on the growth of Apple's business.
post #50 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

In other words, let's pour 2 or 3 percent down the toilet.

Dividends are so last century. Everyone knows they don't do anything but waste money. A lot of rich folks will get marginally richer and everyone gets a free vacation that year. Big deal.

It won't help the company in any way. It won't help them make better products, or cheaper products or more products. Just the opposite in fact.

Agreed

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post #51 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post

Yes I do and one thing I know is that many investors look negatively on companies that don't pay a dividend especially one that's sitting on a stockpile of cash.

Most investors know what kind of company they are buying. In the end, if the ownership of the company wants to change the type of stock AAPL is, they will need to elect a slate of directors that want the company to behave like a value stock instead of a growth stock.
post #52 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by syracuse View Post

Why can't AAPL be BOTH a growth and income stock?

Paying a dividend has ZERO impact on the growth of Apple's business.

Again, none of us can make that statement because we have no idea what the strategic plans are for the 100 billion dollars. They may be sitting on it awaiting favorable tax conditions somewhere so they can make an acquisition.

People in this thread keep making bizarre blanket absolute statements. No one on this thread can possibly say paying a dividend will not impact Apples growth as a company.
post #53 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wovel View Post

That presumes you know what Apple's long term plans are for the cash.

What is your presumption then?

Using the cash for a takeover?

Apple has been returning .25% on their cash, I'd rather have that paid out to investors(me), where I'd promptly re-invest it in AAPL shares.
post #54 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by bokap View Post

Can someone explain how dividends are determined. If Apple pays 3% dividend, is it 3% of what?
Thanks,
Bob

Dividends can be based on anything and calculated any way you wish. You could, for example, (as one company I know did) pledge to distribute 50% of free cash flow in dividends. However, since the article talks about 'dividend yield', that has a very specific meaning. Dividend yield is dividend divided by share price.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Oak View Post

I understand the argument of don't fix something that is not broken. But, a 3% dividend @ $500 share ($15/share) would be about $14 billion dollars per year payout. Apple is projected to generate another $70+ billion in cash this year

So, even if they did a 3% dividend, Apple cash balance could grow to: $100 + ($70- $14 dividend) = $156 billion by end of year

Above all, Apple senior management needs to make sure they have the capital to execute their game plan. It's worldwide and it is on a massive scale, as they are essentially building out the world's computing and mobile platforms for the next 20 years. Only they really know the plan and the need for the cash

That is the most sensible thing anyone has posted. (Wu's suggestion of a $70-80 B dividend is crazy.)

In the end, management has to make a decision as to how much cash they need to keep on hand for strategic purposes and safety net. Once they have more cash than that, they have to make an assessment of what to do with the cash. That could include acquisitions, share buybacks, or dividends. So far, there hasn't been any signs of acquisitions that could use any significant percentage of the cash. If cash continues to grow by 30-40% per year, they'll need to do something - and that might include share buybacks or dividends. Dividends require repatriation of cash and will therefore have tax consequences. Depending on where the share buybacks occur, they might or might not.

There are also acquisitions besides companies, btw (their pre-payment for components is one example). Perhaps they're planning to buy Bora Bora so that they can run their corporate offices free from local regulations and in a sunny climate where they can get free solar energy.

In the end, no one outside of Apple's board room knows what their plans are so it's impossible to say when they reach the point where they have 'too much' cash.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kaiser_soze View Post

As is often the case, many of the comments I read here are so stupid as to boggle my mind.

Apple is a publicly traded company. The only appropriate action to take, with respect to that pile of case, is to use it in the way that stockholders want it to be used, in the best interest of the stockholders. There is virtually unanimous opinion among analysts, whose opinions closely reflect the opinions of stockholders, that Apple needs to pay a dividend.

No need to go any further. There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that analysts reflect the opinions of stock holders. Nor is there any legal mechanism for the Board to pay any attention to analysts. The only thing you stated correctly is that the stock holders eventually control Apple. But they don't do that by voting on what they want (other than limited circumstances). Instead, they do that by electing board members to represent them. The BOARD decides what Apple does with its cash, not analysts.
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post #55 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by syracuse View Post

What is your presumption then?

Using the cash for a takeover?

Apple has been returning .25% on their cash, I'd rather have that paid out to investors(me), where I'd promptly re-invest it in AAPL shares.

They could accomplish the same thing with greater tax efficiency by simply buying back shares.

If Apple buys back shares, it has no impact on your taxes. If they issue a dividend to you and you buy back shares, you have to pay income tax on the dividend, so you're worse off.

In addition, they have to repatriate money to issue a dividend since the dividend would be paid in U.S. dollars - which means more money lost to taxes. If they buy back shares in a different country and pay with local currency, they would not have to repatriate the money.

So, if Apple really doesn't have a use for the money, a stock buyback makes a lot more sense than a dividend. But that's begging the question. The Board obviously thinks that, at least as of today, they need the amount of cash that they have. And since shareholders voted to elect the board, they have the final say.
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post #56 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wovel View Post

Again, none of us can make that statement because we have no idea what the strategic plans are for the 100 billion dollars. They may be sitting on it awaiting favorable tax conditions somewhere so they can make an acquisition.

People in this thread keep making bizarre blanket absolute statements. No one on this thread can possibly say paying a dividend will not impact Apples growth as a company.

whoa, settle down chief.

Mine was not an "absolute statement", just an opinion.

I don't own a crystal ball so I don't know what Apple has in mind for takeovers, but since they have never spent more then $400MM on an acquisition before I suspect they won't start now.

GROWTH and INCOME investing are not mutually exclusive. You can have both.
post #57 of 225
ABSOLUTELY stupid idea.

Heaven forbid.
post #58 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wovel View Post

Again, none of us can make that statement because we have no idea what the strategic plans are for the 100 billion dollars. They may be sitting on it awaiting favorable tax conditions somewhere so they can make an acquisition.

People in this thread keep making bizarre blanket absolute statements. No one on this thread can possibly say paying a dividend will not impact Apples growth as a company.

And no one on this can say that paying dividend WILL impact Apples growth.
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post #59 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaiser_soze View Post

As is often the case, many of the comments I read here are so stupid as to boggle my mind.

...

All of you people who assert that Apple should not pay a dividend, or should not buy more of their own common stock, or should not engage in buying more companies such as Cirrus Logic, instead of simply asserting that these would be bad things for Apple to do, why don't you explain the reasoning behind your assertions?

Here's why I assert that Apple should not pay a dividend ... Because they've decided so far not to pay a dividend. Apple's management to date have been experts at building a cash stockpile and using it strategically. Based on this track record, I believe (as a shareholder) that Apple's management continues to be in the best position to decide what to do with the cash in ways that will further improve Apple's business situation.

Your track record, however, is non-existent and therefore your advise has no value.

Furthermore, the one example you use to support your argument - Apple purchasing one of their parts suppliers - is a tremendously bad idea. Apple is in the business of three things. First, to build the Apple brand. Second, to design great products. Three, to market and sell those great products. They are not in the business of designing sound chips or any other commodity parts, and they are definitely not in the business of managing entire organizations focused on such activities. Acquisitions are almost never a good idea. Acquisitions of organizations that have nothing to do with your core business are definitely never a good idea...unless you're trying to get out of the industry you are in and enter another one. Does that describe Apple?
post #60 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by poke View Post

How would this help them make great products?

Brilliant question.

Answer: It's completely irrelevant to making great products.
post #61 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by bokap View Post

Can someone please explain again how the payout is determined on a dividend. Have read it is based on earnings, someone else posted it is based on share price.
Thanks
Bob

It is based on earnings. Period. Anyone that says it's based on stock price is clueless. Period.
post #62 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post

Yes I do and one thing I know is that many investors look negatively on companies that don't pay a dividend especially one that's sitting on a stockpile of cash.

Who cares? Investors who bought AAPL versus any dividend paying stock have earned more money. By definition, that means AAPL was a better investment strategy.
post #63 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by syracuse View Post

What is your presumption then?

Using the cash for a takeover?

Apple has been returning .25% on their cash, I'd rather have that paid out to investors(me), where I'd promptly re-invest it in AAPL shares.

If you're so ticked off with returns from AAPL because of the paltry returns on cash, I dare you to sell the stock. You can do that, you know.
post #64 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

They could accomplish the same thing with greater tax efficiency by simply buying back shares.

If Apple buys back shares, it has no impact on your taxes. If they issue a dividend to you and you buy back shares, you have to pay income tax on the dividend, so you're worse off.

In addition, they have to repatriate money to issue a dividend since the dividend would be paid in U.S. dollars - which means more money lost to taxes. If they buy back shares in a different country and pay with local currency, they would not have to repatriate the money.

So, if Apple really doesn't have a use for the money, a stock buyback makes a lot more sense than a dividend. But that's begging the question. The Board obviously thinks that, at least as of today, they need the amount of cash that they have. And since shareholders voted to elect the board, they have the final say.

That's exactly right.
post #65 of 225
Apple cannot pay dividend or buyback, because they don't really have the cash. Most of the cash is trapped in foreign countries and if they bring it back they'd have to pay tax and that'd be a huge hit to earnings.

That's why these analysts are clueless. Only if Mitt became president and sign a bill of tax holiday, then we'd see AAPL pay dividend or do buyback.
post #66 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by drobforever View Post

Only if Mitt became president and sign a bill of tax holiday, then we'd see AAPL pay dividend or do buyback.

It doesn't matter who's President. It'll probably happen anyway. Moreover, it's a decision for Congress to make, not the President.

Both Republicans and Democrats supported the move the last time it happened.
post #67 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by drobforever View Post

Apple cannot pay dividend or buyback, because they don't really have the cash. Most of the cash is trapped in foreign countries and if they bring it back they'd have to pay tax and that'd be a huge hit to earnings.

That's why these analysts are clueless. Only if Mitt became president and sign a bill of tax holiday, then we'd see AAPL pay dividend or do buyback.

Apple could use earnings generated in the US or issue debt in the US to pay for a dividend.
post #68 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

Here's an interesting take:

Following Up: When Will Apple's Share Price Reach $500

That is an awesome take. Thanks.
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post #69 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post

Yes I do and one thing I know is that many investors look negatively on companies that don't pay a dividend especially one that's sitting on a stockpile of cash.

So all of us with AAPL are obviously not part of your 'many'. Lucky us I'd say
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post #70 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleZilla View Post

I think the best use of this money would be to buy up several hundred acres of former factory sites in the United States, move All production here, and slap 'Made in USA' stickers on every product box.

Detroit is calling.

And utterly destroy the supply chain economics. You might have missed it, but recently there was an article detailing why Steve Jobs told President Obama that those jobs weren't coming back to the US. And it had little to do with how much the workers got paid. You would have to recreate the entire supply chain, practically from raw-materials to final assembly, and then train a workforce, not just worker bees but also the industrial engineers, before you could even consider such a plan. In other words, it would require a nation-wide committment, not just the actions of one company.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post

Its very simple, a stockholder owns part of Apple, say a friend of yours asks you to invest in their company and says "I will make shitloads of cash but you'll get none of it". I don't know about you but I'd turn them down. You think the stock is high now? It would be through the roof if they paid a dividend.

Or you could simply sell a few of those shares and pay the lower long-term capitals gains tax instead of the higher dividend tax rates.

Apple is in a unique position of not having to really care that much if their stock price goes "through the roof". Obviously yes, they care, and they have a responsibility to their shareholders. But with their huge cash reserves, they are mostly insulated, operationally, from fluctuations in the stock price. Many companies rely on borrowed money for running their businesses. As such, they are very senstive to their credit ratings, which can in turn be affected by the stock price of the company. This is one reason why Apple has come through the recession unscathed. They have no debt-dependance. If only more business (and individuals) operated that way.

The problem is that when most folks talk about the "responsibilities" of the company towards the shareholders, it's almost always in the context of short-term profit for the shareholders. As if the shareholders were actually the customers of the company. Apple is not an investment company. They are a consumer electronics company. Luckily Apple knows that even if some of its shareholders don't. Its Board should do what's best for the company because in the long run, that will be what's also best for the shareholders. Don't like it? Fine, take your money and invest it elsewhere. Apple doesn't need to care. They've got 100B in cash and absolutely no operational dependance on their stock price.
post #71 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charel View Post

There is more to Apple Inc than the shareholders. Think of the customers and the staff who are dependent on the success of the company.


Neither of them count.

The corporation is there to return maximum value to the shareholders. The customers and staff are used to feed maximum value to the shareholders.
post #72 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

In other words, let's pour 2 or 3 percent down the toilet.

Dividends are so last century. Everyone knows they don't do anything but waste money. A lot of rich folks will get marginally richer and everyone gets a free vacation that year. Big deal.

It won't help the company in any way. It won't help them make better products, or cheaper products or more products. Just the opposite in fact.

Dividends are the reason there is a stock market... A stock price is base on the future promise of participating in the profit. When a stock rise on growth, its all base of a future participation of the profits at a later time.

If the company never pays and dividend, the stock is not worth anything at all, its just a piece of paper. Shareholders are the owners of the company, and by being so they have the right to take a cut of the profit.
post #73 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by drobforever View Post

Apple cannot pay dividend or buyback, because they don't really have the cash. Most of the cash is trapped in foreign countries and if they bring it back they'd have to pay tax and that'd be a huge hit to earnings.

That's why these analysts are clueless. Only if Mitt became president and sign a bill of tax holiday, then we'd see AAPL pay dividend or do buyback.

You're even more clueless by thinking they need the cash to pay dividends... They wont touch the cash pile, the only thing the dividend will do is reduce the amount of cash that keeps piling up. The benefit of the dividend is avoiding a total collapse of the stock price when AAPL stop growthing because it will allow revenu funds to buy it when hedge funds dump it.

Has a stock holder I dont want the stock to tank with no buyers on the other side. They must do this.
post #74 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

It doesn't matter who's President. It'll probably happen anyway. Moreover, it's a decision for Congress to make, not the President.

Both Republicans and Democrats supported the move the last time it happened.

It'd have alraedy happened if Obama wanted it to happen, he'd have attracted so much donation to his PAC if he told the CEOs he'd allow this tax holiday. The fact it hasn't happened yet told you it's not gonna happen under Obama. Mitt is different, he's 'one of them', he'd do the tax holiday during his 1st 100 days guaranteed.
post #75 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by herbapou View Post

You're even more clueless by thinking they need the cash to pay dividends...

Anyone can just say others are clueless without providing any reasoning.
post #76 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

Perhaps they're planning to buy Bora Bora so that they can run their corporate offices free from local regulations and in a sunny climate where they can get free solar energy.

I like Solipsism's suggestion of buying the Cook Islands better. Shipping costs might be lower.

Of course, one of the main considerations is getting a country that is as unencumbered by foreign treaties as possible.

Likely Apple already has its eye on something none of us have ever heard of, with no current government. That would allow them maximum flexibility as to which treaties to honor.
post #77 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by I am a Zither Zather Zuzz View Post

Neither of them count.

The corporation is there to return maximum value to the shareholders. The customers and staff are used to feed maximum value to the shareholders.

Nope. That only became a popular meme in the last 30 years and many of us fundamentally reject it. Read this Forbes article to get a very different perspective.

Now compare how most companies have performed that follow the "maximize shareholder" approach versus Apple's "build great products" approach. Notice the difference?
post #78 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by syracuse View Post

...
I'm hearing Investment Banks have been canvassing "Value Fund Mgrs." about their interest in owning AAPL stock if Apple issued a dividend and presenting those results to the Board.

I suspect some Large Value Mgrs. think Apple will issue a dividend and have proceeded to buy up shares ahead of the announcement leading to the rather large upward movement of AAPL recently.
...

I suspected that too. Now, if Apple does NOT announce a dividend at their shareholder meeting,
we may see a quick retreat of AAPL to where it was a few weeks ago.


Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

It is based on earnings. Period. Anyone that says it's based on stock price is clueless. Period.

I thought the original poster wanted to understand how dividends were EXPRESSED as percentages, rather than how a company decides how much to pay. While dividends are determined by corporate boards based on the companies' finances, they are referenced as a percentage of the stock price (e.g. AT&T is expected to pay $1.76 per share in dividends this year and at their current price of $29.79 per share, that is a 5.9% dividend). The 2-3% dividend Wu talks about in the article would amount to about $10-$15 per share, with AAPL at about $500.
If I misinterpreted the original poster's question, nevermind.
post #79 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by drobforever View Post

Anyone can just say others are clueless without providing any reasoning.

OK. That's a totally clueless comment
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post #80 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by herbapou View Post

Dividends are the reason there is a stock market... A stock price is base on the future promise of participating in the profit. When a stock rise on growth, its all base of a future participation of the profits at a later time.

If the company never pays and dividend, the stock is not worth anything at all, its just a piece of paper. Shareholders are the owners of the company, and by being so they have the right to take a cut of the profit.

There are plenty of historical examples of stock purchasers making huge profits without ever once receiving a dividend from the stock. Dividends are simply a mechanism for participating in the profits while retaining ownership of the stock.

What people forget is that Apple only cares about long term stock owners. Steve Jobs reminded us of this view during the "Antennagate" press conference. He was asked how he felt about those who had lost money in Apple stock value during the situation. His answer was "we don't care, we care about those who are long on Apple". The way long term stock owners participate in the profit is to see the stock's value grow over time. It's entirely speculative about whether a dividend helps, hurts, or is neutral to growing the stock value. I'll go with Apple's management on this one to decide. They've shown how to maximize shareholder value much better than anyone else.
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