(Updated to include statement from Apple.)
NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The fact that Apple (AAPL) has handed shareholders a gain in the past year supports an argument made by Greenlight Capital Management's David Einhorn that the company should give more of its cash to shareholders.
Before the stock market opened Thursday, Apple's shares had fallen in the past 12 months. Still, the company was able to provide investors with a positive return, albeit one that significantly underperforms the S&P 500's near 12% gain.
The key is Apple's $2.65-a-share dividend that the Cupertino, Calif.-based company instituted in March 2012. Apple forecasts the program will return $45 billion in cash to investors over a three-year period.Apple's current dividend has an appeal to investors, even amid the company's poor share performance in the past year and cries by the likes of Einhorn for bigger payouts. In fact, the three quarterly dividends of $2.65 a share paid out to investors represents the company's only return in the past year.
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