Still, the fact that Apple's stock yields more than some of its bonds is rather telling, and is rather anomalous (though not quite unique) for a company that's still — at least nominally — in growth mode.
By comparison, the overall S&P 500 now yields about 2.2 percent, while bonds of high-quality corporate issuers most comparable to S&P 500 companies yield near 3.5 percent.
The yield advantage held by Apple stock over some of its bonds is yet another signal that the market is pricing in minimal growth, if any, for Apple's top and bottom lines in the coming years. As Ari Levy discusses here, Wall Street has cooled on the Apple investment story, even as analysts continue to endorse the stock and the company's ongoing growth opportunities.
Investors, collectively, have been unwilling to pay up for lush current earnings, which could be the result of unsustainable profit margins. The market, too, has refused for years to "pay up" for Apple's cash trove — perhaps because there is virtually nothing very clever or compelling a management team can do with $200 billion in one or two strokes. And, of course, there is theoretically unlimited downside risk to the stock, while Apple's bonds are a virtual certainty to be repaid on time and in full.