Apple stock (NASDAQ:AAPL) started the week at $96.27 per share. Prices slumped in Wednesday trading, bottoming out at $93.49 and flirting again with the 52-week low of 92 bucks. AAPL then peaked Friday morning at 97.99 only to fall back and close at 96.91. The big investor-related news last week was Apple's annual shareholder meeting on Friday. Let's take a closer look.
CEO Tim Cook stated that Apple will raise its quarterly dividend every year. The dividend is currently at $0.52/share (2.2% annual yield). Normally the increases are announced in the second fiscal quarter, so stay tuned until next month's announcement for details. While Apple does not offer its own Dividend Reinvestment Plan (DRIP), many brokers will set up these types of transactions.
Privacy battleApple delivered an open letter to its customers on Tuesday, making it clear that the company will oppose any efforts to circumvent iPhone encryption. The letter was prompted by an order by a US Federal judge, demanding that Apple assist the FBI in efforts to access data on an iPhone 5c. The phone in question belonged to one of the shooters in the San Bernadino attack.
Cook said making the software demanded by the FBI would require around 6-10 Apple engineers working for 2-4 weeks. More importantly, as Apple looks to market opportunities in China and India, customers there are watching Apple's stance on encryption. Should the FBI prevail, Apple risks losing the trust of potential buyers and its existing customers.
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Apple car not coming soon
Cook explained that it may take a while for the rumored Apple car project to bear fruit. Keeping any information close to the vest, he only said it will be "Christmas Eve for a while". Some have interpreted this as a tacit admission that a car is in the works. But in other interviews, Cook often speaks generally about many new products in the pipeline.
Apple believes it's currently a buyer's market for tech companies. Cook disclosed that Apple has acquired 19 companies over the past five quarters, spending $8.5 billion in research and development. Look for this trend to continue, as Apple plans to scoop up more innovative companies in the near future. Many of these innovations will make their way into future Apple devices.
Apple's eight member board was reelected unanimously, while four shareholder proposals were rejected. The outside proposals included a pledge to reach zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, and a commitment to stop trade with countries that commit human rights violations.
Another rejected proposal was to mandate diversity, however Apple revealed it has continued to successfully increase diversity in its 116,000-strong workforce and across its executive teams. When it comes to equal pay statistics, Apple currently pays minorities 99.7% of what white employees are earning, and women make 99.6% of what men are paid.