Tuesday, March 20, 2012

March 20 Update - Apple, Treasuries, Banks, India

The $2.65 quarterly dividend plus $10 billion in share repurchases means about $25 bn in cash outlays. A drop in the bucket if you are generating more than that per year in free cash flows. The main signal from Apple is: we will not waste money on side bets/new technologies that will destroy shareholder value. We will keep the cash pile constant and have plenty of high-ROI plowback opportunities.

The 10-year Treasury yield rose 0.36% to 2.38% last week. Watch the long rates for signals about the economic recovery. For the yield to rise, investors must think that the economy is stronger than the offsetting purchases of long-term bond by the Fed, and, more importantly, that they can earn more elsewhere - in stocks and real estate

Most banks passed the stress tests last week, except Citibank. Vikram Pandit can't run a bank and doesn't even know how to cook the books. Of course, the dumbest thing is the Fed stopping the stress test-failing banks from paying dividends. So they keep losing money and investors can't take the money out. Only the government can come up with that.

And lastly, if you felt depressed about the U.S., here is something that will cheer you up. Of the 1.2 billion people in India, 670 million have cell phones, but only 500 million have access to toilets. Come on Apple, get working on the toilet app!

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