Will Apple Get Sued By Investors?
Several analysts have suggested over the past few days that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) announce an increase in its dividend in order to create a catalyst for the stock. According to Gamco Investors’ Lawrence Haverty, the company should consider the suggestion a warning. This is because its decision to refrain from returning more cash to shareholders could leave Apple’s board vulnerable to investor lawsuits, Haverty told Bloomberg Radio on Monday.
“Someone is going to sue them for excessive accumulation of cash,” Haverty said, though he did not discuss having any knowledge of a potential lawsuit. Gamco holds Apple shares and Haverty said on Monday that he continued to consider the shares a buy despite their recent fall. Apple has dropped 37 percent since reaching a record close of $702.10 in September through January 25.
Apple pays a quarterly cash dividend of 2.65 percent. That figure is lower than other big technology companies according to Bloomberg data, with Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) yielding 4.3 percent, Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) paying 3.1 percent, and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) bringing in 3.3 percent.
While Apple said on its post-earnings conference call last week that it was considering increasing the quarterly dividend and initiating stock buybacks, nothing has been announced yet. After paying out about $4.5 billion in the recent quarter, the company still had $137.1 billion in cash and investments in the three-month period that ended December.
Haverty added that Apple needed to launch a cheaper iPhone in the $100-to-$200 range to grow in China. “It’s a mind-boggling market,” he said, referring to the Asian country.
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