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Dividend, Flash-Crash Take a Bite Out of Apple

Tickers in this article: MU ACN AAPL HPQ ORCL

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - Apple(AAPL) was the star of the show again this week, as the company announced a dividend and a buyback, and "flash-crashed", all in the space of five days.

The consumer tech giant became allergic to dividends after co-founder Steve Jobs returned to Apple in the nineties. When Tim Cook took over from Jobs last year, however, there was a changing of the guard and the new CEO rethought the company's dividend strategy.

On Monday, Apple said it would spend $10 billion on a share-repurchase program and initiate a quarterly dividend of $2.65 per share. The Cupertino, Calif.-based company said it expects to spend $45 billion over the next three years.

The dividend would begin "sometime in the fourth quarter of its fiscal 2012," according to a press release by the company. The buyback will start in fiscal 2013, which commences on Sept. 30, 2012.


While the dividend and buyback may have been music to investors' ears, though, the "flash-crash" definitely was not. Apple's stock tumbled on Friday, as a rogue trade sent the stock down nearly 10% in seconds.

The trade in question may have been be an order placed through the BATS exchange, which, ironically, had trouble with its own ticker while going public Friday. Parent company Bats Global Markets (BATS) said in a statement issued at 10:48 a.m. EST, "Please be advised that BATS is currently investigating system issues trading in symbols range A through BF. Will advise."

Shares of Apple dipped on Friday, closing down $3.29, or 0.55%, at $596.05.


HP(HPQ) announced this week it would be restructuring its operations, merging its printer and PC divisions .

The Imaging and Printing Group (IPG) and the Personal Systems Group (PSG) will become one unit, under the jurisdiction of Executive Vice President Todd Bradley. Vyomesh "VJ" Joshi, who was in charge of Imaging and Printing, is retiring after 31 years with the company.

"This combination will bring together two businesses where HP has established global leadership," said HP CEO Meg Whitman, in the press release. "By providing the best in customer-focused innovation and operational efficiency, we believe we will create a winning scenario for customers, partners and shareholders."

Shares of HP closed up 60 cents, or 2.61%, at $23.63 on Friday.


Accenture(ACN) reported better-than-expected second-quarter earnings and raised guidance on Thursday, as revenue from consulting and outsourcing continue to be strong.

Excluding items, Accenture earned 97 cents a share, up from 75 cents a share in the prior year's quarter. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters were looking for earnings of 86 cents a share. Revenue came in at $6.8 billion, comfortably above the $6.6 billion estimate from Wall Street.

Accenture said it now expects full-year earnings to be between $3.82 and $3.90 a share, 6 cents higher than its prior range for a profit of $3.76 to $3.84 a share. For the third quarter, Accenture expects revenue between $7.05 billion and $7.25 billion. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters are looking for third-quarter sales of $7.02 billion.