“Most folks think that Apple will announce some sort of dividend, and that’s certainly possible. One ludicrous element of U.S. tax rules will apparently make it impossible for Apple to use the cash it has stashed outside the U.S. to pay a dividend (without getting socked with penalties for ‘repatriating’ the cash), so this would limit the amount Apple could pay. This tax rule seems particularly absurd–Apple’s stock is held all over the world–but it is what it is,” Henry Blodget writes for The Daily Ticker.
“Last night and this morning, the smarter folks seemed to think Apple would do nothing–and use the call to bash the government’s tax policies,” Blodget writes. “Government-bashing seems unlikely (at least to me). A clear explanation of why the company isn’t paying a dividend would accomplish the same purpose with agitating the powers-that-be. But ‘do nothing’ seems possible.”
Blodget writes, “I’ll bet the company also authorizes–but does not commit to–a stock buyback. Like most other companies’, Apple’s stock occasionally wilts, and there’s no reason not to have the authority to buy back a few tens of billions of dollars of it at what appear to be cheap prices. This costs the company nothing, and it would provide psychological “support” under the stock price.”