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Apple buys back $14 billion of shares in two weeks since results

The Apple flagship retail store is pictured in San Francisco, California January 27, 2014. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith
The Apple flagship retail store is pictured in San Francisco, California January 27, 2014. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

(Reuters) - Apple Inc has repurchased $14 billion of its stock in the two weeks since it reported disappointing first-quarter results, a company spokesman said.

Apple bought $12 billion of shares via an accelerated share repurchase program (ASR) and $2 billion of shares from the open market, the spokesman said. An ASR usually involves a company buying its shares from an investment bank.

The news was first reported by the Wall Street Journal, which interviewed Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook.

Cook told the paper that Apple was surprised by the 8 percent decline in its shares on January 28, the day after it reported quarterly results.

Apple shares fell after the company reported lower-than-expected holiday-period iPhone sales and issued a weak revenue forecast.

With the latest round of repurchases, Apple has bought back more than $40 billion of its shares over the past 12 months, which Cook said was a record for any company over a similar span. (http://link.reuters.com/xas66v)

"It means that we are betting on Apple," Cook said.

"It means that we are really confident on what we are doing and what we plan to do. We are not just saying that. We are showing that with our actions."

The share buyback was part of Apple's plan to repurchase $60 billion of its shares.

Excluding the latest purchases, Apple returned $7.7 billion to shareholders through dividends and buybacks in the December quarter, bringing the total under its capital return program to $43 billion.

Cook told the paper that Apple would issue updates on its buyback program in March or April.

(Reporting by Sakthi Prasad in Bangalore and Eddie Chan in Los Angeles; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)

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