Apple just announced a share buyback bigger than most FTSE companies

Apple has become so dominant and cash generative that its Q2 share buyback was larger than nearly every company in the UK’s FTSE 100 index.

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In Apple’s (NASDAQ: AAPL) recent Q2 results, for the three-month period ended 30 March, the tech company announced the largest share buyback in history. At $110bn, the buyback was bigger than most FTSE companies.

So what does this mean for Apple investors like myself? And is the stock worth buying today?

An unprecedented share buyback

When Apple announced the unprecedented share buyback, I wasn’t particularly surprised.

You see, in recent quarters, Apple’s revenue growth has really stalled (-4% last quarter)

Meanwhile, the company hasn’t been announcing exciting artificial intelligence (AI) innovations like the other Big Tech companies have been.

So, it needed to do something noteworthy to keep investors interested.

A big buyback makes sense as it should benefit both the company and its investors.

The company will see its share count reduced significantly. This should increase earnings per share.

As for investors, they should benefit from the higher earnings per share by way of share price gains (over time).

It’s worth pointing out that the buyback comes after a period of share price weakness. This means Apple will be buying back shares at lower prices, which is a good thing.

Given that Apple’s market cap today is around $2.8trn, the $110bn buyback equates to around 4% of the company shares.

To put the buyback figure in perspective, only five companies in the FTSE 100 index have market caps bigger than that number (AstraZeneca, Shell, HSBC, Unilever, and Rio Tinto).

Worth buying?

Are Apple shares worth buying today? I think so personally.

I have been buying them for my own portfolio recently around the $170 mark.

At that price, they’re not cheap from a valuation perspective. Given that Wall Street expects earnings per share of $7.20 for the year ending 30 September 2025 (next financial year), the forward-looking price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio is around 24. That’s high.

But this is one of the most dominant companies in the world. So, it’s worth paying up for, to my mind.

One reason I remain bullish on Apple is that it has so many users locked in because of its ecosystem.

As Warren Buffett said recently: “If you’re an Apple user and somebody offers you $10,000, but the only proviso is they’ll take away your iPhone and you’ll never be able to buy another, you’re not going to take it.”

Another reason is that its iPhones are generally subsidised by telecoms companies. So, people are likely to still buy them if cash is tight.

Of course, the lack of revenue growth right now is not ideal. I would like to see the top line expand as this would help drive earnings growth, which in turn would help the share price.

I believe revenue growth will return in the not-too-distant future though. Once the company launches an AI-enabled phone, I would expect to see a huge ‘product refresh cycle’ where consumers upgrade their handsets in droves.

The big risk in the near term is that the company’s valuation comes down a bit due to the lack of revenue growth. With the other Big Tech stocks seeing more top-line expansion, investors could move their capital elsewhere.

I’m confident that Apple will continue to grow in the long term, however.

Should you invest, the value of your investment may rise or fall and your capital is at risk. Before investing, your individual circumstances should be assessed. Consider taking independent financial advice.

Ed Sheldon has positions in Apple and Unilever Plc. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Apple, AstraZeneca Plc, HSBC Holdings, and Unilever Plc. HSBC Holdings is an advertising partner of The Ascent, a Motley Fool company. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

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