Apple will buy back up to $100 billion worth of shares

  • Apple reported earnings on Tuesday for the fiscal second quarter, which has traditionally been the quarter when Apple announces capital return programs like share buybacks and dividends.
  • Apple's gargantuan net income has piled up over the years.
  • Nonetheless, Apple has steadily increased its dividends since its 2014 stock split.

Apple on Tuesday announced a plan to return $100 billion to shareholders in a massive stock buyback, confirming recent optimism around tax reform.

The iPhone maker reported earnings on Tuesday for the fiscal second quarter, which has traditionally been the quarter when Apple announces capital return programs such as share buybacks and dividends.

Apple said it would be increasing dividends 16 percent to 73 cents per share.

Apple's gargantuan net income has piled up over the years, resulting in a cash reserve of $267.2 billion as of the March quarter. But until recently, the overseas portion of that money was subject to relatively high tax rates.

Nonetheless, Apple has steadily increased its dividends since its 2014 stock split. Apple said Tuesday it has returned $275 billion in total capital to shareholders since 2012.

It did not give a timeline for the latest buyback program.

"We are not giving an end date to the program this time because the amount is very, very large," Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri said on the earnings call. "We will do it at a very fast pace but we also want to do it efficiently."

Maestri said that since Apple has now completed $275 billion of its $300 billion capital return program, including $200 billion in share repurchases, Apple will complete its original plan three quarters early, in June.

The company will also provide an update to the full repurchase program in 12 months, Maestri said.

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