Apple’s $1 trillion market value is a moving target due to record buybacks

“Pinpointing the moment when Apple will officially become the first trillion-dollar public company is trickier than it may seem, largely because of the company’s mammoth stock buyback programme,” Robin Wigglesworth reports for Financial Times.

“The buyback is one of the big reasons investors have been so enthusiastic about the tech group this year and it provides a prop to the company’s market value since Apple can go in and buy shares whenever they are weak,” Wigglesworth reports. “But the programme also obscures exactly how many Apple shares are still outstanding.”

“As of April 20, the iPhone maker had 4.915bn shares in issue, according to its latest quarterly regulatory filing. That means that Apple should have a total market capitalisation of $1tn when its shares hit $203.45. But buybacks reduce the share count, which makes the $1tn mark a moving target,” Wigglesworth reports. “At the current rate of buybacks, the count will drop to 4.756bn by the time company next reports the number alongside quarterly earnings. In that case, the shares would have to reach $210.25 for Apple to smash past the trillion-dollar mark.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We might get a slew of “Apple hits $1 trillion” reports based on Apple’s last public share count figure that aren’t exactly correct. We’ll be using the Thompson Reuters market cap numbers as they use the latest public share count number from Apple. Thompson Reuters currently has Apple’s market cap at $926,896.81.


  1. Mayhematically Buybacks have zero effect on market cap. Zero!
    Market cap is Earnings x multiple (PE)
    ( Psychologically i though it may or may not .. psychology/perception effecting PE)

    Buy backs only effect stock price..( its a way of returng capital to shareholders given a stable PE multiple )
    More shares.. less eps..
    less shares .. more eps

    Stock price = eps x multiple

    Now if the headline read ‘the stock price that will render a 1trillion cap is a moving target’ , .. then it would make sense!

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