Apple’s cash and investments surged 8.6% from the quarter ending in December. At present, the iPhone maker has a cash reserve greater than Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s combined, according to USA Today. The company has invested much of its cash in Treasury Securities and other long term investments.
For the most recent quarter, Apple posted strong iPhone sales, outperforming profit and revenue estimates. Apple posted a profit of $13.8 billion or $2.33 per share on sales of $58 billion. The Cupertino, Calif.-based company performed significantly better than all other Silicon Valley companies.
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On Monday, Apple shares closed up 1.82%, and in after-hours trading, shares were up 1.33%. Year to date, the stock is up by almost 18%.
For investors who are more focused on dividends and stock buybacks, Apple already announced an increase in its capital return amount, which suggests that the company is pushing its buyback plans from $90 billion to $140 billion. In 2014, the company returned $45 billion, more than its $44.5 billion profits on stock repurchases and an additional $11.2 billion in dividends.
Additionally, higher dividends will be paid at 11%, which is the 20th biggest dividend increase in the history of the S&P 500, according to Howard Silverblatt of S&P Dow Jones Indices. With an increase in the dividend to $12.1 billion each year, Apple becomes the largest dividend paying company, above Exxon at $11.6 billion, according to Silverblatt.
Apple CEO Tim Cook said, “We believe Apple has a bright future ahead, and the unprecedented size of our capital return program reflects that strong confidence.” Cook added that although a major focus is share buybacks, the company is aware that the dividend is very important to many investors, which is why it is increasing it for the third time in less than three years.