Apple (NasdaqGS: AAPL), the world’s largest company by market value, reported fiscal second-quarter earnings after the close of U.S. markets Monday, thrilling investors by upping its capital return program to $200 billion.
That includes expanding its share buyback program. Already one of the largest repurchasers of its own shares after spending $56 billion on buybacks last year, reducing its shares outstanding count by about 7%, Apple’s board “has increased its share repurchase authorization to $140 billion from the $90 billion level announced last year,” according to a statement issued by the California-based company.
Apple also said it is boosting its quarterly dividend to 52 cents a share from 47 cents. That is good for a $1.16 billion increase, one of the largest dividend increases ever by a member of the S&P 500, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices.
Apple now has $194 billion in cash. To put that into context, only 24 U.S.-listed companies, including Apple, have market values north of $200 billion. That is all great news for Apple investors, particularly those planning on holding the stock for the long-term, but on Tuesday, buyback exchange traded funds are not responding to news of Apple’s expanded buyback effort. [Apple Advances Toward Buyback ETF]
For example, the PowerShares Buyback Achievers Portfolio (NYSEArca: PKW) is trading only modestly higher. The $3 billion PKW is the largest buyback ETF and allocates 20.6% of its weight to the technology sector. More than half of PKW’s tech weight goes to Apple and International Business Machines (NYSE: IBM), which combine for 10.8% of the ETF’s weight.
After flirting with entry into PKW last year, Apple finally gained admission this year. The ETF rebalances in January and requires a company’s shares outstanding count be reduced by 5% in the previous year, a requirement Apple easily met in 2014. Apple and IBM combine for more of PKW’s tech weight than the ETF’s 40 other tech holdings combined. [Apple Finally Enters Buyback ETF]