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Apple cash hoard could hit $170 billion this year

post #1 of 35
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Moody?s Investors Services noted in a report today that Apple's cash pile could reach $170 billion this year if the company doesn't change its policies regarding dividends and stock buybacks.

Top cash holding, not bank US corps


A report by Marketwatch cited the research note, which alarmingly warned, "unless Apple changes its philosophy towards liquidity/shareholder returns by increasing its $10 billion annual common dividend, or if Apple increases it stock buyback program, we estimate Apple?s cash balances could increase by another $35 billion in 2013 and exceed $170 billion."

Moody's profiled cash stockpiles among non-financial US corporations as amounting to $1.45 trillion at the end of 2012, more than a third of which ($556 billion) is held by tech companies.

Nearly a quarter of the total ($347 billion) is being held by five companies, with Apple at the top of the list with over $137 billion. Microsoft, Google, Pfizer and Cisco round out the top five.

Apple announced plans last year to distribute $2.5 billion each quarter to shareholders as a dividend, and said it would earmark another $10 billion in stock buybacks to offset stock-based compensation. In total, this would amount to around $45 billion over the next three years.

The company has also outlined plans to invest $10 billion in 2013, including nearly $1 billion to enhance and expand its retail stores worldwide, and $9 billion in facilities and infrastructure, including data centers, new office buildings, and manufacturing equipment it will install at its partners' facilities to help guarantee a smooth supply of components.

Despite having articulated plans to put $55 billion of its cash pile to work, Apple continues to generate so much new cash flow that its assets continue to expand. Last quarter, the company added another $16 billion.

While commonly depicted as a cash "hoard," Apple's "cash" is actually conservatively invested in corporate securities (over $46 billion), US Treasury and US agency securities (over $39 billion), and other money market funds, mutual funds, municipal securities and mortgage and asset backed securities, according to the company's most recent 10-K filing.
post #2 of 35
So Apple will shortly have 1/10 of the entire cash reserves of all of corporate America (not counting finance firms).

Pretty amazing - especially to those who lived through the bleak years in the late 90s.
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Gatorguy 5/31/13
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post #3 of 35
The horrors! Warning: Apple earns more money than they can spend!
post #4 of 35
They should pay North Korea to start nuking Samsung's HQ. 1biggrin.gif
post #5 of 35
Isn't it funny how the tone of all Apple news and blogs have changed in last few days! What was "cash" hoarding few days is now "conservatively invested"! Apple faithful! Hang in there! I think you know your company better than all these Wall Street analysts!
post #6 of 35
So basically, Apple is just barely hanging on by a thread... Or something.
post #7 of 35
Some of that was mine. Only 4-figures per year though.

iPhone, iPad, iMac or MBP purchase makes it hard to break into the 5-figure realm.
post #8 of 35
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Originally Posted by Dunks View Post

They should pay North Korea to start nuking Samsung's HQ. 1biggrin.gif

Quickest way to see selective service to be utilized once again.
post #9 of 35
Wall Street will not reward Apple if they give more money back to investors. The stock typically changes more in value each day than any plausible quarterly dividend. So how would investors even notice this? This would just be a waste of money.
post #10 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

So Apple will shortly have 1/10 of the entire cash reserves of all of corporate America (not counting finance firms).

Pretty amazing - especially to those who lived through the bleak years in the late 90s.

Imagine how they would have done in a robust US economy....

Edit: I'm hoping they take it back private. F TheStreet
post #11 of 35
Wow! 65 billion more and they can buy Microsoft!

Or at least do a hostile takeover!

Dividend! Smividend!
post #12 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristophB View Post

Imagine how they would have done in a robust US economy....

Edit: I'm hoping they take it back private. F TheStreet

Not the least bit likely. However, I would like to see them make some massive stock buybacks - $50 to $100 B should do it.
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post #13 of 35
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Originally Posted by jungmark View Post

The horrors! Warning: Apple earns more money than they can spend!

One can actually earn too much money.
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post #14 of 35
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Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post

One can actually earn too much money.

Please explain.
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post #15 of 35

Maybe they can buy an island or a country and move everything there an than they don't have to worry about taxes, etc. ;-)

post #16 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


Please explain.

Please don't. I don't think I'm up to having my brain addled by his attempts at twisting things to fit his version reality right now.

post #17 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

Please explain.

He wants a handout without doing any work.
post #18 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristophB View Post


Edit: I'm hoping they take it back private. F TheStreet

I don't understand why people on here (or anywhere) want Apple to go private? What is the point of doing that, other than borrowing massive amounts of cash and paying a shitload of taxes to repatriate overseas assets to buy out existing shareholders? Does anyone with half a brain actually expect new, different, or better products?
post #19 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post

One can actually earn too much money.

No, a corporation can't earn too much money. But it can have too much money.

"invested in corporate securities (over $46 billion), US Treasury and US agency securities (over $39 billion), and other money market funds, mutual funds, municipal securities and mortgage and asset backed securities" makes Apple sound like more like a mutual fund that also happens to make products. At some point, and I do not profess to know where that point is, a company has so much money that it spends too much time, attention, and expense managing its money than perfecting its products.

The other problem with having too much cash "conservatively invested" is that inflation will decrease the purchasing power of that money.
post #20 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by NormM View Post

Wall Street will not reward Apple if they give more money back to investors. The stock typically changes more in value each day than any plausible quarterly dividend. So how would investors even notice this? This would just be a waste of money.

 

It's certainly interesting to see the results of Apple's first $45 billion dividend and stock buyback program: the stock went from $619 to $700 and then plummeted to $420 within six months.

 

In the year prior to announcing the dividend (in March 2012), Apple's stock went from around $330 up to $630.

 

After announcing it, it dropped $100 in a month, then recovered slightly before dropping $200 as Apple issued 3 dividend payments.

It looks like Steve Jobs was right: you pay a dividend and the cash goes away and the stock doesn't have any reason to move. It now has a reason to drop (the company has slightly less cash!) 

 

So people demanding more dividends: would you rather have $2.65/share every quarter or stock worth +$200 more per share? Kind of a dumb trade. 

post #21 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by msuberly View Post

I don't understand why people on here (or anywhere) want Apple to go private? What is the point of doing that, other than borrowing massive amounts of cash and paying a shitload of taxes to repatriate overseas assets to buy out existing shareholders? Does anyone with half a brain actually expect new, different, or better products?


I'm interested in Apple making better products and not wasting time and capital having to answer to, cater to, defend against litigation etc from publications and hedge funds intent on manipulating stock with predictions and rumor for short-term gains on the backs of investors who believe in the product. I don't think Apple going private or owning a controlling interest, as jragosta suggests as more likely, are mutually exclusive. Spending the liquidity on what is in the best interest of Apple is in the Apple consumer's best interest.

Fortunately, I have more than half of a brain so the ad-hom failed. Borrowing against cash on hand and breaking even on earned vs expensed is a good strategy until the gov catches up. When has legislation ever caught up innovation?
post #22 of 35

Apple, darned when they grow in cash. Darned when they drop in stock price.

Just wanna pluck the nuts off these analysts for screwing around.

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post #23 of 35
So , their cash hoard could hit 170B but their stock has been tanking. WTF!
post #24 of 35
Apple, please set aside a $1 billion commitment per year for 5 years for mapping, and $100 million per year for 5 years for iWork. That's only $1.5 billion after 5 years but I think in that time you could make amazing strides in your products.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

So Apple will shortly have 1/10 of the entire cash reserves of all of corporate America (not counting finance firms).

Pretty amazing - especially to those who lived through the bleak years in the late 90s.

Does that account for what they have outside the US?

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post #25 of 35

How can this be?

 

It's all about market share and Apple is losing.

 

Sorry for the lapse, my brain fell out when I wrote that.

 

hey a removable brain would be pretty cool, then I could take it out and get a job as an analyst!

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post #26 of 35
They should buy back their own stock since Wall Street is causing the price to be so low.

 

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post #27 of 35
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Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Apple, please set aside a $1 billion commitment per year for 5 years for mapping, and $100 million per year for 5 years for iWork. That's only $1.5 billion after 5 years but I think in that time you could make amazing strides in your products.
Does that account for what they have outside the US?
Couldn't agree more with spending more money on software.
post #28 of 35

You know what they're going to do with that cash pile don't you. Once it hits 500 billion, they'll buy all outstanding shares and take the company private. Then they won't have to put up with all the nonsense on Wall Street.

post #29 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristophB View Post

Spending the liquidity on what is in the best interest of Apple is in the Apple consumer's best interest.

You state the fundamental flaw in most everyone's argument on here. Customers do not own the company, the shareholders do. It doesn't matter if the company is public or private. A corporation owes a fiduciary duty to its owner, not its customer.
post #30 of 35
Originally Posted by msuberly View Post
Customers do not own the company, the shareholders do.

 

Screw 'em. I don't see the shareholders making good decisions or doing any of the work. I see shareholding as a "last resort override" in accountability. Otherwise it's just an opportunity to make money by following what you believe. 

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post #31 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Screw 'em. I don't see the shareholders making good decisions or doing any of the work. I see shareholding as a "last resort override" in accountability. Otherwise it's just an opportunity to make money by following what you believe. 

That's what I say. The true investors are the consumers that spend their hard earned money buying Apple products and services time and time again, not the ones sitting idly buy holding a few pieces of paper.
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post #32 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by NorCal Explorer View Post

They should buy back their own stock since Wall Street is causing the price to be so low.

Is it really affecting the company? Did it affect Apple in 2008 when the stock went down to $80?
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post #33 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by KDMeister View Post

You know what they're going to do with that cash pile don't you. Once it hits 500 billion, they'll buy all outstanding shares and take the company private. Then they won't have to put up with all the nonsense on Wall Street.

It's not worth spending that much to go private and it wouldn't be all at once. Most of the people who are stockholders now have contributed nothing to the company's success so why reward them with money Apple employees have earned?

It would be far better to just ignore that side of Apple and keep it from influencing the running of the company. They will buy back shares over time. Increasing the dividend can be good for Apple staff:

http://articles.latimes.com/2012/may/26/business/la-fi-apple-cook-20120526

but many of them don't do it for the money and don't need it so if they don't increase it, it might encourage people to sell and allow them to buy back shares at a lower price.

I'd like to see them using their money for investments rather than payouts. The typical suggestions are for cheap products:

http://news.yahoo.com/being-no-1-just-isn-t-enough-apple-151555424.html

and while they can add value in many of those categories, it might not be enough to distinguish between high growth and me-too. Blackberry is going to face this problem now because they missed the growth and now it's me-too.

Even if they maintain the margins, the lower ASP means they have to vastly increase the volume or it's not worth doing.

The things I'd like to see Apple invest in are ones that offer long-term financial stability. That's in things like the software and media distribution because it adds to the things that compel people to buy into the eco-system. If they owned say Netflix, they'd have established content partners and a subscription base they could use to have a significant presence in movie and TV distribution. iOS devices could ship with the app and have free content as well as in-app purchases and subscriptions.

Amazon could really leverage that because they could do things like advertise kids toys when they watch kids TV shows. They actually bought the Lovefilm service, which is a rival to Netflix, probably because Netflix turned down their crappy offer:

http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57527124-93/amazon-once-offered-to-buy-netflix-for-$12-million-book-says/

Tim could take Steve's approach and just write down a big number on a piece of paper and get it done. They have over 30 million subscribers. With a bundled app on 100 million devices a year, they can massively increase that and use it as a platform for their keynotes and other media. They can have channels like Youtube but it would be high production value content. They could do it without Netflix but they'd hit the ground running by owning what they've established.

Because the entire eco-system is run by Apple, they can do things like link sharing so for example if you see a good TV show, you can iMessage or tweet a link to the show and clicking it on a Mac or iOS device can open the stream and encourage a subscription or pay-per-view purchase.

I'd like to see more investment in gaming too. I just think it's a major point of leverage on platforms. No matter how much people squabble about the merits of XBox and Playstation, you can't play Gears of War on the Playstation and you can't play Gran Tourismo on the XBox so the exclusivity compels the hardware purchase. Apple doesn't have enough of that exclusive content that is exclusive by their own actions. It would be so cheap for them to do this relative to what they earn and the return would be huge. Regardless of the feelings towards games, there are over 100 million gamers investing in AAA titles and the relevant hardware entirely separate from Apple's eco-system. They need to make the distribution more attractive to content providers by avoiding things like this too:

http://mashable.com/2012/12/05/app-store-revenue-developers/

It's easy to throw out suggestions on how to spend money and they should make their spending decisions wisely but it's becoming clear they are either waiting to do something huge as Steve seems to have alluded to at one point or they just don't know what to do with it that will add value to the company. I'd say owning every kind of digital distribution is a good step to take. I'm not against the idea of a watch or a TV if they can do it right - sure it would be great to be in a meeting and see a text without pulling the phone out your pocket - but watches are much more about fashion than function and people like variety. The TV market is just saturated and isn't very high volume. Samsung's already the largest TV manufacturer and they make less profit than Apple even after including everything they do.
post #34 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post


That's what I say. The true investors are the consumers that spend their hard earned money buying Apple products and services time and time again, not the ones sitting idly buy holding a few pieces of paper.

Nope.  The consumers are the ones that make the investors money.  You buy, I profit.  For that I say thank you for making me a multimillionaire.

post #35 of 35

****'em all you want.  Just keep buying the products.

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