While the market is focused on AAPL's income statement, we decided to take a quick glance at its balance sheet, where we looked at - what else - its infamous cash hoard. Once the envy of every company in the universe, AAPL's cash and equivalents, while still very impressive at a record $146.8 billion, is potentially a reason of concern. Because while AAPL's Q4 $9.9 billion in cash from operations were certainly impressive as a result of the company's recent shareholder friendly overtures it has been burning cash at a far faster clip than in prior quarters and spent $7.8 billion in Q4 in dividends and share buybacks. So much so, that the amount by which its total cash holdings grew in the quarter was a tiny $140 million, a far cry from prior quarters when it generated billions in cash in any given quarter. So one wonders: was this the peak for the most fantastic cash balance growth in history?
We hope to have the breakdown of domestic vs foreign cash soon, although if prior quarters are any indication, this is the 3rd consecutive quarter in which domestic cash has declined and will force the firm to either repatriate some of its offshore cash, or issue even more debt.