Apple’s dividend alone is enough to buy a third of the companies in the S&P 500

You’re welcome, shareholders!
You’re welcome, shareholders!
Image: Reuters/Robert Galbraith
We may earn a commission from links on this page.

Even a supposedly weak quarter for Apple features plenty of eye-catching numbers. The tech giant generated nearly $53 billion in revenue in the three months to April 1. It turned a profit of $11 billion over that period. Its cash pile now stands at $257 billion.

Apple is also in a giving mood, upping the amount of money it will return to shareholders over the next two years by $50 billion. Between 2012 and 2019, the company will have showered some $300 billion (pdf) on shareholders—it has paid out more than $200 billion thus far—primarily via share buybacks.

In terms of cash Apple investors collect directly, the company said yesterday that starting this month, it will hike its dividend by around 10%. As a result, over the coming year Apple will pay out $13.2 billion in dividends, giving it the most generous dividend in the world, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices.

At current prices, Apple’s forthcoming annual dividend alone is worth as much as a third of the companies in the S&P 500. With the money it will pay in dividends this year, Apple could buy up all the shares in companies like Tiffany (free diamond bracelet with every smartwatch purchase), Foot Locker (free VaporMax shoes with every MacBook), or Chipotle (free burrito with every iPad).

Apple’s 2017-18 dividend vs. market cap of selected S&P 500 companies (as of May 2)