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Apple’s $3 trillion market cap shows value of share buybacks, dividend



Apple CEO Tim Cook attends Apple’s “Ted Lasso” season two premiere at Pacific Design Center on July 15, 2021 in West Hollywood, California.

Emma McIntyre | WireImage | Getty Images

Apple capped off a stunning rise on Monday when it briefly became the first company to touch a $3 trillion market value before closing the day just short of the mark.

The relentless rise of Apple’s stock speaks to the power of Apple’s capital return program. In the past years, Apple has been the biggest repurchaser of its own shares in the S&P 500 by far.

Apple spent $85.5 billion to repurchase shares and $14.5 billion on dividends in Apple’s fiscal 2021 (which ended in September). Apple spends more on buybacks than other companies who repurchase a lot of their shares, including Meta Platforms (formerly Facebook), Alphabet, Bank of America, and Oracle.

Share buybacks boost stock a company’s stock price by reducing the supply of shares in the market, effectively returning the money to investors through higher share prices. In addition, reduced share counts increase earnings per share, a metric used by many value-based investors to judge a stock.

Apple started to pay quarterly dividends and repurchase its shares in March 2012. Since then and through last summer, Apple has spent over $467 billion on buybacks, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence, which calls the iPhone maker the “poster child” for share buybacks.

In fact, since August 2018, when Apple first hit a $1 trillion value, its stock is up 252%, compared to a market cap increase of about 200%. The disparity is a direct result of its buyback program, which has reduced the company’s share count from about 19.4 billion at the end of June 2018 to about 16.4 billion now.

Investors are beginning to see Apple as a “flight to safety” or quality trade thanks to the combination of its large cash flow and willingness to return that money to investors.

“The recent rally in shares in part may reflect investor expectations of relatively stable demand and continued strong cash flows and capital return for a stock that has performed largely in-line with the market,” Bank of America Securities analyst Wamsi Mohan wrote in a December note.

Can it continue?

Apple’s prodigious cash flow is one reason why investors believe that Apple can continue to spend significant amounts on share buybacks while still growing its headcount and investing in research and development. Apple reported an industry-leading $104 billion in cash flow in its fiscal 2021. By way of comparison, fellow tech giants Microsoft and Alphabet had about $77 billion and $65 billion in cash flows during their most recent fiscal years respectively.

Apple’s ability to generate free cash flow could also allow the company to continue its capital return program even when it becomes “net cash neutral,” which Apple CEO Tim Cook has said that it means that Apple’s total cash will equal its total debt.

In Dec. 2017, alongside a new tax law that allowed it to move most of its cash pile from overseas, Apple said that it planned to no longer maintain its huge cash pile and it planned to return it to investors over time.

Apple’s buyback pace immediately quickened, from $33 billion in fiscal 2017 to $73 billion in fiscal 2018. As of October, Apple has $66 billion in net cash, CFO Luca Maestri said at the time. That’s down from about $163 billion in net cash from when the decision was announced.

In November, Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi predicted that Apple would be able to continue repurchasing between 3% and 4% of outstanding shares through 2026 without taking on net debt — Apple has borrowed in recent years to fuel its capital return program but its spending has been offset by its cash pile.

Apple generally updates investors on its shareholder return plans in April alongside its second-quarter financial results. Citi analysts expect Apple to announce another $90 billion in buybacks and to raise its dividend by 10%.

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Teladoc Tumbled 38% After Big First-Quarter Loss. Is It Just a Pandemic Play?



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After pandemic drop, Canada’s detention of immigrants rises again By Reuters



© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Two closed Canadian border checkpoints are seen after it was announced that the border would close to “non-essential traffic” to combat the spread of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the U.S.-Canada border crossing at the Thousand Isla

By Anna Mehler Paperny

TORONTO (Reuters) – Canada is locking up more people in immigration detention without charge after the numbers fell during the pandemic, government data obtained by Reuters shows.

Authorities cite an overall rise in foreign travelers amid easing restrictions but lawyers say their detained clients came to Canada years ago.

Canada held 206 people in immigration detention as of March 1, 2022 – a 28% increase compared with March 1 of the previous year. Immigration detainees have not been charged with crimes in Canada and 68% of detainees as of March 1 were locked up because Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) fears they are “unlikely to appear” at an immigration hearing, according to the data.

The rise puts Canada at odds with Amnesty International and other human rights groups that have urged Ottawa to end its use of indefinite immigration detention, noting CBSA has used factors such as a person’s mental illness as reason to detain them.

A CBSA spokesperson told Reuters that “when the number of entries (to Canada) goes up, an increase in detention is to be expected.” CBSA has said in the past it uses detention as a last resort.

A lawyer told Reuters her detained clients have been in Canada for years.

In the United Kingdom, too, immigration detention levels rose last year after dropping earlier in the pandemic, according to government statistics. Unlike Canada, the United States and Australia, European Union member states have limits on immigration detention and those limits cannot exceed six months.

The rise in detentions puts people at risk of contracting COVID-19 in harsh congregate settings, refugee lawyers say.

Julia Sande, Human Rights Law and Policy Campaigner with Amnesty, called the increase in detentions “disappointing but not surprising,” although she was reluctant to draw conclusions from limited data.

The number of immigration detainees in Canada dropped early in the pandemic, from a daily average of 301 in the fourth quarter (January through March) of 2019-20 to 126 in the first quarter (April through June) of 2020-21.


Detaining fewer people did not result in a significant increase in no-shows at immigration hearings – the most common reason for detention, according to Immigration and Refugee Board data.

The average number of no-shows as a percentage of admissibility hearings was about 5.5% in 2021, according to that data, compared to about 5.9% in 2019.

No-shows rose as high as 16% in October 2020, but a spokesperson for the Immigration and Refugee Board said this was due to people not receiving notifications when their hearings resumed after a pause in the pandemic.

Refugee lawyer Andrew Brouwer said the decline in detention earlier in the pandemic shows Canada does not need to lock up as many non-citizens.

“We didn’t see a bunch of no-shows. We didn’t see the sky fall … It for sure shows that the system can operate without throwing people in jail,” Brouwer said.

He added that detainees face harsh pandemic conditions in provincial jails – including extended lockdowns, sometimes with three people in a cell for 23 hours a day.

Refugee lawyer Swathi Sekhar said CBSA officials and the Immigration and Refugee Board members reviewing detentions took the risk of COVID-19 into account when deciding whether someone should be detained earlier in the pandemic but are doing so less now.

“Their position is that COVID is not a factor that should weigh in favor of release,” she said.

“We also see very, very perverse findings … [decision-makers] outright saying that individuals are going to be safer in jail.”

The Immigration and Refugee Board did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

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Nasdaq futures rise as market attempts comeback from April sell-off, Meta shares soar



Stock futures rose in overnight trading as the market shook off the April sell-off and investors reacted positively to earnings from Meta Platforms.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 70 points or 0.2%. S&P 500 futures gained 0.7% and Nasdaq 100 futures jumped 1.2%.

The moves came as shares of Meta surged more than 18% after hours following a beat on earnings but a miss on revenue, a sign that investors may see signs of relief in the beaten-up tech sector. Shares were down 48% on the year heading into the results.

Meanwhile, shares of Qualcomm gained 5.6% in extended trading on the back of strong earnings while PayPal rose 5% despite issuing weak guidance for the second quarter.

“I think a lot of people want to believe that earnings are going to pull us out of this, but earnings are not what got us into this,” SoFi’s Liz Young told CNBC’s “Closing Bell: Overtime” on Wednesday. “… But the reality is there are so many macro headwinds still in front of us in the next 60 days that the market is just hard to impress.”

The after-hour activity followed a volatile regular trading session that saw the Nasdaq Composite stoop to its lowest level in 2022, as stocks looked to bounce back from a tech-led April sell-off. The index is down more than 12% since the start of April.

In Wednesday’s regular trading, the tech-heavy Nasdaq ended at 12,488.93, after rising to 1.7% at session highs. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 61.75 points, or 0.2%, to 33,301.93 propped up by gains from Visa and Microsoft, while the S&P 500 added 0.2% to 4,183.96.

Investors await big tech earnings on Thursday from Apple, Amazon and Twitter, along with results from Robinhood. Jobless claims are also due out Thursday.

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