3 Reasons Why Apple Shouldn't Pay a Dividend

Updated from 10:37 a.m. EST to include poll.

CUPERTINO, Calif. ( TheStreet) - Apple ( AAPL) had $97.6 billion in cash and cash equivalents at the end of its most recent quarter, and despite calls for a dividend, analysts say this may not be the best course of action.

From Apple's impressive return on equity, to the need for continued innovation, and even future acquisitions, there are plenty of reasons for the iPhone maker to avoid a dividend.

Sure, there have been plenty of calls for Apple to do something with its cash, particularly now that a new CEO's at the helm. During his fourth-quarter conference call Tim Cook said that he was "not religious" about holding Apple's cash, prompting speculation that a dividend or share buyback could materialize. This issue continued to reverberate around Apple's first-quarter conference call late on Tuesday.

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Analyst Toni Sacconaghi of Sanford Bernstein, for example, asked about Apple's enormous cash hoard, enquiring if there were any plans to announce a return to shareholders, perhaps in a dividend, buyback or acquisition. Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer responded by saying the company was "actively discussing uses of its cash balance" but that it had nothing to announce.

Read on for more reasons why Apple should not pay a dividend in 2012:

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