Apple Shares Halted Ahead of 7:1 Stock Split Announcement
This article has been updated with comments from Apple's second-quarter earnings call.
Apple shares halted briefly Wednesday as the company announced a 7:1 stock split and raised its buyback authorization from $30 billion to $90 billion. Apple declared a dividend of $3.29 per common share, which it will pay out May 15 to shareholders of record as of May 12.
Apple CEO Tim Cook called the thinking behind the company’s second dividend in two years very deliberate and called the move a “meaningful increase for those shareholders who value income,” according to Seeking Alpha’s transcript of Wednesday’s earnings call.
“We are expanding Apple’s products and services into new categories and we are not going to under invest in this business,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said Wednesday during an earnings call, according to Seeking Alpha’s transcript. “To invest organically and to make acquisition strategically, we need to maintain financial flexibility.”
Cook sounded reassuring as he explained Apple’s guiding principles around capital reallocation, promising to continue the practice on a regular basis and to seek input from a wide range of shareholders.
But the company’s $36 billion to $38 billion forecasts for the third quarter fell short of Wall Street’s consensus $37.9 billion.
Apple sold 43.7 million iPhones, well above the 37.4 million it sold in the same quarter a year ago. But the 16.35 million iPads it sold this quarter came in well below the 19.5 million iPads it sold in the second quarter last year.
Cook said the company has seen a big boost from China, where Apple recorded almost $10 billion in revenue from online and retail sales. He also touted the now 55-percent share Apple enjoys in the Japanese smartphone market.
When questioned about the strong demand for the iPhone 5s during this quarter and whether that warrants a price increase for the next iPhones, Cook dodged by simply saying Apple only aims for a “fair price for the value that we’re delivering.”
Apple’s shares shot up more than 8 percent in after-market trading as of 4:13 p.m. CT.