AAPL Went Bullish...On Itself
I looked at the past 7 quarters of share repurchases (all of the quarters post-split). During that period, the company repurchased 591.6 Million Shares (420.6 Million in Open Market and 171.0 Million through an Accelerated Share Repurchase (ASR) Program). The total amount of open market purchases is $46 Billion at a weighted-average price of $109.37, which is ~15% higher than it trades today. The Company was on a buying spree leading up to the holiday quarter. In the September-2015 quarter alone, the company repurchased / retired 132 Million shares, the second highest quarterly repurchase in the period I looked at (they retired 162 Million shares in the September-2014 quarter).
In a recent discussion with Ovi Popescu he mentioned something to me that I didn't really think about when looking at the Company's FQ1-16 results - the relatively small amount of stock that the company repurchased during the quarter. As many know, the Company has a $200 Billion capital return program in-place, which is a combination of both share repurchases & dividends. Through the December-15 quarter, the Company has returned $153 Billion of that $200 Billion, with $110 Billion coming in the form of Share Repurchases.
But in the most recent quarter (Dec-2015), the Company only repurchased 46.4 Million shares - the lowest of the 7 quarters. Now, to be fair, they only repurchased 53 Million shares last holiday quarter (Dec-2014). There's always a big debate about share repurchases and the financial engineering that companies mess around with. That said, I think AAPL truly buys back shares when it feels like the Company is undervalued. I still think they believe it's undervalued, but the repurchases in Dec-2015 prove that they are a bit more cautious on that thought.