Icahan Pulls Back, but Apple Advances Toward Buyback ETF

Apple (NasdaqGM: AAPL), the largest U.S. company by market value, appears to have appeased activist investor Carl Icahn regarding repurchased shares.

After shares of California-based Apple plunged 8% on Jan. 28, a day after the company’s fiscal first-quarter earnings report, the company began repurchasing its shares in a big way. To be precise, Apple bought back $14 billion of its own stock in the two weeks ending Feb. 7.

That $14 billion was nowhere close to the $50 billion Icahn was pressing for, but after months of pressure on the iPad maker, Icahn said in a letter to Apple investors: “We see no reason to persist with our nonbinding proposal, especially when the company is already so close to fulfilling our requested repurchase target.”

Remember that Icahn was pushing Apple to ADD $50 billion to a repurchase program that had from $10 billion to $60 billion and had $37 billion left at the start of this year.  As we noted last week, despite Apple’s appetite for its own shares, it has not repurchased enough to qualify for admission to the PowerShares Buyback Achievers Portfolio (NYSEArca: PKW) as of the ETF’s January rebalance. [Apple Repurchases Not Quite Enough for Buyback ETF]

PKW tracks the NASDAQ US BuyBack Achievers Index, which “is comprised of US securities issued by corporations that have effected a net reduction in shares outstanding of 5% or more in the trailing 12 months,” according to PowerShares.