Apple dethrones Exxon to become the world's dividend king

The biggest company in the world can add a new title to its mantle.

Apple is now the world's largest payer of dividends after increasing its quarterly payout by 10.5% to 63 cents a share, according to data compiled by Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC. Now boasting $13.2 billion in annual distributions, Apple has dethroned Exxon Mobil, the previous global dividend king.

For some perspective, the tech titan is now distributing more in quarterly dividends than the entire market cap of US Steel, Silverblatt points out.

What's more, if the announced increase is paid out this month, the company has the potential to set a new S&P 500 monthly cash dividend record of $51.6 billion, S&P Dow Jones data show.

Apple's efforts to return profits to investors don't end there. The company also announced yesterday it will use an additional $35 billion to buy back its own shares, bringing its total share repurchase plan to $210 billion. The expansion of stock buybacks is likely intended to bolster Apple's share price — a tactic big companies often use.

And why not? The company is sitting on a $257 billion cash pile, the biggest in the world and more than double that of Microsoft.

While Apple's share price slid 1.1% in pre-market trading after missing sales estimates, its stock is up 27% this year, more than four times the S&P 500.

 

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