If you bought Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) at the close, just over a year ago, for $353.21, you're sitting on a roughly 47.2% profit today. If you got in two years ago at $204.62 and held, that's 154.1% upside. And you want more? You're nothing but a self-entitled, little ...
That might be a bit drastic, but step back and put things in perspective. You own a piece of the world's greatest company. Its stock has returned 47% and 154% over the last two years, respectively. And the company just reported the blowout quarter of all blowout quarters. You have, as Adam Lashinsky expertly illustrated in Inside Apple, a truly strange corporate culture at the company. But, the fact that the people at Apple are bit off, so to speak, probably accounts for a large portion of the company's incredible success and world domination, not to mention shareholder returns.
Yet, we have geniuses lining up for days acting as if they know what Apple should do next. Trust me, you're better off sticking to telling Reed Hastings what to do at Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX).
At the top of the list, pay a dividend. I just do not get it. If you're Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) of course you want a dividend. If you get one you see your "bull case" of $600 playing out sooner rather than later and you can savor expensive brandy with your fellow millionaires as you bask in the afterglow.
I've got news for you, with or without a dividend, AAPL is going to $600. The only thing that can screw that up is this team of forced introverts taking their eyes off of the ball.
Let's consider a dividend from a retail investor's perspective. $10 a share has been tossed around. Today, that's a roughly 2% yield. If you own 100 shares, you would collect $1,000 over the course of a year on an AAPL dividend. Compare that to McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) where it's reasonable to think mere mortals could have collected 500 to 1,000 shares over time. At a dividend per share of $2.80 (2.8% yield), you take in between $1,400 and $2,800, annually, in MCD dividend income.
Endpoint - If you want dividends, you should have been building positions, over time, in dividend-paying blue chip stocks. AAPL is not a dividend-paying blue chip stock. It is an innovative hyper-growth machine in perpetual start-up mode that needs to stay that way or die.
I honestly think Apple executives view the situation in that regard. Why in the world should we pay a dividend? It's not in our culture. It does nothing for everyday shareholders and it only makes the already rich (thanks to Apple) richer. As an AAPL bull, I hope Tim Cook and the Apple board does not give in.
The next genius move people toss out: Apple should spend millions, or maybe even billions, on content. That's what Erick Schonfeld of TechCrunch, who I normally love, proposes. Cook, thankfully, shot that idea down.
If it doesn't blow its bankroll on content, maybe Apple should start a subscription video service. Again, Cook nixed that idea at Apple's annual meeting this week. I am sure he smiled as he thought, "Shareholders are complete morons."
And, of course, there's always the gem that Apple should run out buy every company under the sun. One guy thinks Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) makes sense. Another joins the inane chorus of people who think Apple should buy Sirius XM (NASDAQ:SIRI). Frankly, I bet that more than half of Apple's staff has never even heard of Sirius XM. And then there's the complete and total wack job who floated the idea that Apple take out Pandora (NYSE:P).
All of these separate pieces of lunacy have one thing that ties them together. Bad, or at the very least, less-than companies make these types of moves. Take a look around you, it ain't too complicated.
Buy content or start a video subscription service. Sure, Apple will likely model Netflix and then go ahead and do what everybody else is doing. That's the Apple way. <little guy with eyes rolling>
Buy Yahoo, Sirius XM, Pandora or something else really, really big. That's what Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) does and that's why people laugh at them. Some of this ill-advised M&A might have something to do with MSFT's less-than 10% share price increase over the last two years. Not bad, but not Apple.
I do not understand why Apple shareholders, especially the ones who actually go to the bloody shareholder meeting every year, want to turn this company into every other inferior company on Earth. Let a roaring dog roar.
Additional disclosure: I am long NFLX June $40 put options.