iPhone 5, $2.5-Billion Dividend Payout Has Investors, Hedge Funds Buying Apple; Layoff Rumors Have No Impact

  on August 15 2012 5:49 AM

News of the probable launch of iPhone 5 September 12 and the $2.5-billion quarterly dividend payout August 16 have made Apple (AAPL) stocks a top pick among retail investors and hedge funds.

Apparently, as reports of Apple testing April highs emerged Tuesday, investors and hedge funds have started accumulating the stock.

Funds including Viking Global Investors, Renaissance Technologies, Third Point and others have increased their holdings of Apple, The Street has reported.

Viking Global Investors, the $12 billion long-only fund run by Andreas Halvorsen and David C. Ott, reportedly added 807,300 shares to bring its stake to just over 980,000 shares.

Also, Chase Coleman's fund, Tiger Global Management, apparently added 175,000 shares to raise the total holdings to 1.4 million shares.

Though Apple shares closed Tuesday at $631.69 up 0.3 percent from the previous close, the high price did not deter investors from buying the stock.

Commenting on the buying spree, Briaz Sozzi, Chief Equities Analyst, NBG Productions told Breakout's Jeff Macke: "I can see a world where you can just continue to buy the stock, because you got that dividend check. You're gonna want to buy more Apple in front of key product launches. The stock could just continue to go higher."

The Cupertino technology giant is planning to issue its first quarterly dividend in 17 years. Apple announced the dividend plans in March 2012, alongside a $10-billion share buyback program, Apple Insider noted.

A dividend of $2.65 a share will be issued by the technology company August 16. Apple's $2.5 billion quarterly dividend payment makes it one of the highest dividend payers in the U.S., according to Apple Insider .

Layoff Rumors Continue To Swell

Apple blog MacRumors reported August 13 that Apple was laying off retail employees across the world and part-time employees were facing a cutback in their work hours.

Though the technology giant had not commented on layoffs thus far, MacRumors noted that the much-awaited launch of iPhone 5 and commencement of holiday shopping season might bring some relief for part-time staff.

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