CUPERTINO, Calif. ( TheStreet) -- Apple (AAPL), which reported stellar first-quarter results earlier this week, should start paying a dividend again, according to the overwhelming majority of respondents to a poll on the topic.
Some 70% of readers said that Apple should start carving off its vast $96.7 billion cash haul. Almost a third of respondents, however, say that a dividend's not necessary, noting that that the iPhone maker has better uses for its cash.
Apple faced repeated questions about its cash haul during the conference call to discuss its first-quarter results late on Tuesday but gave little away. The company is "actively discussing uses of its cash balance," noted CFO Peter Oppenheimer, in response to an analyst's question, but said that the tech giant had nothing to announce.CEO Tim Cook said last year that he was "not religious" about holding Apple's cash, which kicked off speculation that a dividend or share buyback could materialize. Apple stopped paying dividends in 1995, preferring to focus on growth at a time of stiff competition from the likes of Microsoft (MSFT). Fast forward 15 years, and Apple has a market cap of $416.26 billion, dwarfing Microsoft's $246.06 billion. Dividends have become more common in the tech sector in recent years, with Apple and Google (GOOG) among the handful of large-cap names eschewing payments. Microsoft, for example, reversed its dividend stance and made its first payment in 2003, while Cisco (CSCO) announced its first-ever cash dividend last year. Critics of a potential Apple dividend, however, point to the company's return on equity, need for innovation, and potential future acquisitions. Shares of Apple rose $1.54, or 0.35%, to $446.17 on Friday. -- Written by James Rogers in New York >To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/jamesjrogers. >To submit a news tip, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV