Apple just announced a stock buyback equal to the size of Ecuador’s GDP, thanks to the Republican tax cut bill.
In a quarterly earnings announcement on Tuesday, the Cupertino, California-based company said it would put in place a new $100 billion share buyback program and increase its quarterly dividend by 16 percent. It’s no coincidence that Apple is a major beneficiary of the GOP tax cuts — its effective tax rate (the amount it actually pays) has dropped by about 10 percent between this year and last, and it’s saving an estimated $47 billion on taxes on profits earned overseas as well.
Of the multiple major buyback announcements companies have made since the tax bill was passed in December, Apple’s is by far the biggest. But there have been others as well:The tech conglomerate Cisco in February said it would put an additional $25 billion toward a stock buyback. Troubled megabank Wells Fargo in January announced about $22 billionin buybacks. Pepsi announced a $15 billion buyback, Amgen and AbbVie $10 billion, and Google’s parent company Alphabet $8.6 billion.
Stock buybacks occur when companies repurchase shares of their own stock. That leaves remaining shareholders with a bigger chunk of the company and increases the earnings they reap per share. Buybacks have become increasingly popular in recent years and have boomed in the wake of the tax bill.
By June, Apple will have delivered $210 billion in buybacks to its shareholders since 2012, and it is now earmarking an additional $100 billion. It’s also upping its dividend to 73 cents per share from 63 cents.
Apple is returning more cash to shareholders than any company ever, the Financial Times’s Robin Wigglesworth wrote on Tuesday. By the summer, it will have given back more than the market value of all but 20 of the biggest publicly traded companies in the United States — bigger than Verizon, Mastercard, Coca-Cola, and Disney.
Not an owner of a thousand shares of Apple stock? Oh well.
Just remember that when Republicans tell you that we can't afford roads, bridges, schools, clean water, Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security and health care, just remember they had no problem giving Apple $47 billion a year to buy their own stock.