Well, it finally happened.
By far the biggest news in the dividend world in the last week has been Apple's (AAPL) decision to start paying out a dividend. On Monday morning, the firm announced a $2.65 per share dividend payout, giving the firm a 1.8% yield at current price levels.While Apple's yield isn't massive, the sheer amount of cash it's going to be paying out is -- Apple's new annual payout is bigger than the market values of 40% of the S&P 500 and makes the firm the second biggest dividend payer on the index behind AT&T (T). That should help deal with the close-to $100 billion burning a hole in the Cupertino-based firm's pocket. Apple boasts a massively successful business that's managed not only to develop some of the most popular consumer electronics on the market today -- but that's also managed to sell them with extremely favorable terms. Apple collects far more for each iPhone sale than rivals do for their competing offerings, and Apple sells more phones. While the onus will be on Apple to keep innovating in order to secure such attractive subsidies, the firm hasn't dropped the ball yet. From a valuation standpoint, Apple is still not a particularly expensive stock, despite its status as a momentum name; to date, the price increases in Apple have been met by fundamental improvements in this stock. While structural issues in the market could cause problems because of Apple's sheer size, this stock is worth owning. There's still plenty of dry powder on its balance sheet right now. I also featured Apple, which shows up on a list of 3 Tech Stocks With More Upside for 2012, in "5 Cash-Rich Stocks to Buy in 2012." Follow @stockpickr
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