(Bloomberg) -- The $22.8 billion that Apple Inc. showered on shareholders in the form of buybacks from January through March is a record, according to a tally by Standard & Poor’s.
Not that it’s anything new for the iPhone maker. Of the 20 biggest quarterly repurchases ever carried out by U.S. companies, nine were by Apple. The company’s repurchases in the period exceed the current market value of more than 270 firms in the S&P 500, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
Apple boosted its dividends from 63 to 73 cents a quarter, or $2.92 a year, implying an annual payout of $14.8 billion. That tops the $13.9 billion by Exxon Mobil as the largest by any publicly traded U.S. company, Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at S&P, said in a note. Apple has decreased its shares by a fifth over the past four years as it increased its per-share earnings.
The stock is up 3.4 percent in post-market trading. The options market implies a 5.2 percent advance in the shares a day after the earnings report.
“It’s a great thing in the fact that they’re giving that capital back to shareholders in the way of a buyback and reducing those numbers of shares is just going to spread those earnings,” said Gary Bradshaw, a portfolio manager at Hodges Capital Management in Dallas, which owns about 250,000 shares of Apple for its clients. “That’s what I love to see in making an investment.”
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