Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

Chart of the day: What Apple Inc. brings to the S&P 500

March 1, 2013: 9:41 AM ET

4.7% of earnings. 4.3% of free cash flow. 3.5% of dividends paid. 9.1% of cash on hand.

In Billions USD, S&P 500 figures are the total including Apple. Source: Bloomberg.

In billions of dollars. S&P 500 totals include Apple. Source: Bloomberg via Oracle Investment Research. Click to enlarge.

FORTUNE -- A few weeks ago I got an e-mail from Laurence Balter, chief market strategist for Oracle Investment Research, chastising me for not crediting him with the downgrade -- issued in late August -- that helped lop more than $400 billion off Apple's (AAPL) market value.

I promised to keep a closer eye on his calls if he would add me to his mailing list.

He did. I have. And early Friday he issued a note titled "A 'jumbo jet' dividend ready for takeoff" that included the graph above. Apple, he estimates, could afford to pay more than 5% of the S&P 500 dividends yet currently pays considerably less.

Balter has turned around on Apple since last summer, having called a bottom at $439 in a Dec. 5 Bloomberg TV appearance. His Friday note reiterates his "strong buy" on the company and anticipates a big dividend bump.

"Buckle your seat belts," he writes.

NOTE: This is the third version Balter's Friday chart. The first two were more dramatic, but way off base.

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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