What’s the Story?

by CC March 19, 2012 9:11 am • Commentary


Apple Inc.  said on Monday that it will initiate a quarterly dividend of $2.65 a share sometime in the fourth quarter of this year. The firm also said it will set a $10 billion share buyback that will begin on September 30. “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. You’ll see more of all of these in the future,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “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.”


The pace of the recovery appears to be improving, amid continued question marks about how things will play out over coming months, a top Federal Reserve official said Monday.

“The incoming data on the U.S. economy has been a bit more upbeat of late, suggesting that the recovery may be getting better established,” Federal Reserve Bank of New York President William Dudley said. “While these developments are certainly encouraging, it is far too soon to conclude that we are out of the woods in terms of generating a strong, sustainable recovery,” he said.


The initial phase of an auction to settle credit default swap, or CDS, contracts on Greek government debt was completed Monday morning, setting an initial market midpoint at 21.75, according to Creditex. Market participants who bought CDS protection will receive face value minus the midpoint price. A final price will be determined at 3:30 London time, or 11:30 a.m. Eastern. There are a net $3.2 billion of CDS contracts on Greek sovereign debt outstanding, according to the Depository Trust & Clearing Corp. The CDS contracts were triggered after the Greek government earlier this month activated clauses forcing all private bondholders to participate in a debt swap that cut the nominal value of Greek debt holdings by 53.5%, resulting in the declaration of a “credit event” by the International Swaps and Derivatives Association.


In an interview with the Financial Times, Mr Papademos expressed confidence that Greece’s downward economic spiral would prove temporary. “I am convinced that we are more than halfway along the path to economic recovery – although the fiscal consolidation process will last longer,” he said. “Positive growth rates should be achieved within less than two years,” he said.


Coming Up This Week:

MONDAY: Housing market index; Earnings from Adobe Systems
TUESDAY: Housing starts, Bernanke speaks, Fed’s Kocherlakota speaks; Earnings from Tiffany, Oracle
WEDNESDAY: Weekly mortgage apps, existing home sale, oil inventories, HP annual mtg, Starbucks annual mtg; Earnings from General Mills, Discover Financial
THURSDAY: Jobless claims, FHFA home price index, leading indicators, Green Mountain Coffee shareholders mtg; Earnings from FedEx, Dollar General, Gamestop, Lululemon, Nike, Accenture
FRIDAY: New home sales, Fed’s Lockhart speaks, Fed’s Bullard speaks; Earnings from Darden Restaurants