After a long wait, Apple (NasdaqGS: AAPL) has finally repurchased enough of its own stocks to qualify for admission to the NASDAQ US BuyBack Achievers Index meaning the largest U.S. company by market value has also entered the PowerShares Buyback Achievers Portfolio (NYSEArca: PKW).
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.
Apple was close to entering the BuyBack Achievers Index and PKW at the 2014 rebalance (the index makes new additions and deletions once a year in January), but fell just short of the necessary 5% reduction in shares outstanding. Now, the iPhone make is PKW’s largest holding at a weight of 5.42% as of Jan. 30. That is 34 basis points ahead of Dow component Home Depot. [Apple Advances Toward Buyback ETF]
For the 12-month period ending Dec. 17, 2014, Apple reduced its shares outstanding count by 6.8%.
Apple has been one of the largest repurchasers of its own shares in the S&P 500. In the third quarter of last year, the iPad maker bought back $17 billion of its own stock, more than any other S&P 500 member. The company spent $56 billion on buybacks in last year and it doesn’t appear to be done yet. [Solid Year for Buyback ETFs]
Although Apple has $178 billion in cash, more than the market values of all but a small number of S&P 500 member firms, the company said Monday it will sell $6.5 billion in corporate debt to fund buybacks and dividends.