The Associated Press just moved this alert:
"Apple says it will use its cash to start paying dividend of $2.65, buy back $10B in shares."
Indeed, at Apple's website the company says it "plans to initiate a quarterly dividend of $2.65 per share sometime in the fourth quarter of its fiscal 2012, which begins on July 1, 2012. Additionally, the Company's Board of Directors has authorized a $10 billion share repurchase program commencing in the Company's fiscal 2013, which begins on September 30, 2012."
Apple adds that "the repurchase program is expected to be executed over three years, with the primary objective of neutralizing the impact of dilution from future employee equity grants and employee stock purchase programs."
The news follows stories earlier today about an announcement from Apple, due within the next hour, concerning its plans for the $97.6 billion in cash and securities it has on hand.
There's a conference call about Apple's plans set for 9 a.m. ET. It's due to be webcast here.
We'll add to this post later today.
Update at 9:17 a.m. ET. As CNet News writes:
"In paying a dividend, Apple is just the latest company to bow to intense shareholder pressure. The issue of what Apple does with its cash position has lingered for years as it has grown to a near obscene amount, and has been an issue for investors even when Steve Jobs was running the company. A regular payout adds to the attractiveness of the stock, which continues to see tremendous growth thanks to hit products like the iPhone and iPad. In premarket trading, Apple's stock rose nearly 4 percent and surged past the $600 mark."
Update at 9:12 a.m. ET: On the conference call, Apple CEO Tim Cook just said that "these decisions will not close any doors for us" because the company will still have plenty of cash available for investment.