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.

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“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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