NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Apple (AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. (AAPL) Report, the world's largest company by market value, raised its quarterly dividend Monday to 52 cents a share from 47 cents a share. Since Apple reinstated its dividend in 2012 -- after a 17-year absence -- its payout has climbed 37.5%. Apple now has $194 billion in gross cash and marketable securities, and there is ample room for future dividend growth.
Several exchange-traded funds can help investors tap into Apple's positive dividend trajectory, including dedicated dividend funds.
A good place to start is the First Trust Nasdaq Technology Dividend Index Fund (TDIV) - Get First Trust NASDAQ Technology Dividend Index Fund Report. It is the first dividend ETF that is devoted exclusively to technology stocks; that includes an almost 8.2% weight to Apple. Apple is the ETF's third-largest holding behind Microsoft (MSFT) - Get Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) Report and IBM (IBM) - Get International Business Machines (IBM) Report.
The technology sector has delivered impressive dividend growth in recent years. Apple's dividend rise confirms as much. California-based Apple's $1.16 billion dividend increase is the 20th-largest dividend increase by a member of the S&P 500 (SPY) - Get SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust Report, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices.
First Trust's Nasdaq Tech ETF offers something for conservative investors as well. The ETF can allocate up to 20% of its weight to telecommunications stocks. Its roster currently includes AT&T (T) - Get AT&T Inc. Report and Verizon (VZ) - Get Verizon Communications Inc. Report. The TDIV ETF has a trailing 12-month yield of 2.24% and is up 12.3% over the past year.
Another credible ETF option to build on Apple dividend growth is the WisdomTree LargeCap Dividend Fund (DLN) - Get WisdomTree U.S. LargeCap Dividend Fund Report. The fund has a 3.7% weight to Apple, making the iPhone-maker its largest holding. Technology is DLN's largest sector weight, at 15.3%.
The WisdomTree LargeCap Dividend ETF weights its holdings based on projected payouts for the coming year. ExxonMobil (XOM) - Get Exxon Mobil Corporation Report, Microsoft and General Electric (GE) - Get General Electric Company (GE) Report are among DLN's top 10 holdings. The ETF yields 2.4% and is up 9% over the past year. Investors looking for a steady income stream should know the ETF pays a monthly dividend, whereas most dividend ETFs pay out on a quarterly basis.
The FlexShares Quality Dividend Defensive Index Fund (QDEF) - Get FlexShares Quality Dividend Defensive Index Fund Report has a 3.6% weight to Apple -- it is the fund's third-largest holding. The FlexShares fund's 220 holdings are screened for financial health, including factors such as profitability, cash-flow generation and the ability to pay and raise dividends.
At 17.1%, technology is the FlexShares ETF's second-largest sector holding, behind an 18.1% allocation to financial services stocks. The ETF has a trailing 12-month dividend yield of 2.4% and the fund has climbed 11.5% over the past year.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no position in the stocks mentioned.