Apple Sweet to Shareholders on Valentine’s Day

Forget candy and flowers. Nothing says Happy Valentine’s Day quite like $2.5 billion dollars.

Apple’s high-profile dividend payouts continue today as the Mac-maker and iPhone pioneer releases another $2.65 per share across 939 million outstanding shares of AAPL.

Last August, Apple issued its first quarterly dividend payment in almost two decades. Five months before, Apple CEO Tim Cook unveiled the underlying dividend and share buyback program, which will relieve $45 billion from Apple’s capital reserves through 2015.

Although Apple has now paid dividends for three consecutive quarters, Apple’s cash pile has only grown amidst consistently strong earnings. As a result, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster suspects that Apple may increase the dividend program amount later this spring.

“We have used some of our cash to make great investments in our business through increased research and development, acquisitions, new retail store openings, strategic prepayments and capital expenditures in our supply chain, and building out our infrastructure…” Tim Cook said last March. “Even with these investments, we can maintain a war chest for strategic opportunities and have plenty of cash to run our business. So we are going to initiate a dividend and share repurchase program.”

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