Shares of Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM), the No. 1 designer of chips for smartphones, rose Tuesday morning after the company announced a $4 billion share buyback and dividend boost.
In early activity, Qualcomm shares rose 14 cents to $62.25. The 52-week high is $63.81. In the overall market swoon, though, they fell in early afternoon to $61.75, down 36 cents.
Earlier, the San Diego company said its board approved a 16 percent increase in the quarterly cash dividend to 25 cents a share for shareholders of record March 23. It also established a $4 billion share buyback campaign to replace one for only $3 billion.
About $950 million remained under the old program. Its quarterly dividend had been 21.5 cents.
Qualcomm, which reported $21.97 billion in cash and securities at the end of its second quarter ended Dec. 25, might serve as a goad to its Silicon Valley rival, Apple, which reported holding cash and investments exceeding $97 billion as of Dec. 31.
Apple CEO Tim Cook and CFO Peter Oppenheimer dodged questions about uses of the cash on investor calls and at the company's annual meeting in Cupertino, Calif. last month.
Qualcomm shares have already surged 13 percent this year and nearly 7 percent over the past year. With no fabrication plants of its own, the company collects a steady stream of royalties from foundries and licensees of its chips.
At the International Consumer Electronics Show in January, CEO Paul Jacobs announced more than seven billion Snapdragon chipsets had already been shipped to Android phones, with more orders in the pipeline. The chip challenges Intel's new line of Ultrabook chips for tablets and smartphones.