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Apple BUYBACK Programme Underway? Carl Icahn Net Long or Net Short Apple?

Back in April, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) announced its plan of what seems like the largest buyback programme that might be happening in the market, targeted by 2015 - $60 billion.

Come the month of June, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), had reported that it already bought $16 billion worth of its own stock. This figure was more than 25 per cent of its eleven-quarter allocation in the span of one quarter.

"Apple's massive fiscal third quarter repurchase action looks like it may well be a buy-low move. The stock opened the quarter at $442 per share, hit a quarter low of $392 and ended at $409," reported Carla Fried of ( YCharts .

However, according to Ms Fried, there had been remarkable change from Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL)'s fiscal third quarter stock price as "Apple's share price has rallied about 20% since July 1, compared to 5.5% for the S&P 500 index."

In August, Carl Icahn announced that he had bought a "large position" in Apple at $1 to $2 billion.

Mr Icahn had since been pushing Apple to accelerate and increase the company's buyback beyond the targeted $60 billion by the end of 2015.

In recent reports and interviews with media, Mr Icahn had over and over again stated that Apple is "cheap" and "very undervalued."

Meanwhile, a report from Fortune said that Apple's fiscal year and the second quarter of its big buyback programme ends on Saturday.

By Monday, Sept 30, Apple CEO Tim Cook and Mr Icahn are set to have a meeting to discuss Apple's buyback programme, as hinted by Mr Icahn himself.

With these series of events, the meeting between Messrs Icahn and Cook sparks controversy that Apple's largest buyback programme is probably underway.

On Thursday, Global Equities' Trip Chowdhry's note to clients called for Apple to "fully disclose all past and future discussions that Apple has with Carl Icahn." Mr Chowdhry upheld SEC's Regulation FD, requiring companies to make public any material they exchange with outsiders in private.

"Why should we not be able to not call up Apple during the quiet period, whereas here they are having a special meeting during the quiet period. That is completely counter to Reg FD," Mr Chowdhry remarked.

Mr Chowdhry particularly doubts Mr Icahn's motive and the nature of his holdings with Apple.

"Though Carl Icahn has announced he own[s] Apple Stock, there is no certainty that he is net long Apple Stock. There is a perception among investors that Carl Icahn is actually net short Apple Stock," Mr Chowdhry said, as reported by Fortune.

In another interview with Benzinga, Mr Chowdhry reiterated his point.

"I think investors should not be focused on anything to do with Carl Icahn because there is no certainty that he is net long. There is the perception that he may be net short. He may own shares but he may also have a net short position."

As all this happens, ( Analyst Ratings Network reported some unusual options trading activity with Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) on Thursday.

According to the report, investors acquired 91,793 put options on Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) - a representation of a 680 per cent increase in comparison to the typical volume of 11,761 put options.

Analyst Ratings network also reported that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL traded up at 0.97 per cent on Thursday, hitting 486.22, with a trading volume of 8, 447,781 shares. The company has a 52 week low of $385.10 and a 52 week high of $682.17. Apple's stock had a 50-day moving average of $484.3 and its 200-day moving average is $446.7, with a market cap of $441.7 billion and a P/E ratio of 12.01.
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Publication:International Business Times - US ed.
Date:Sep 27, 2013
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