With Apple's stock falling more than 8% at one point on Tuesday, activist investor Carly Icahn swooped in and bought another $500 million worth of shares.
"Just bought $500 mln more $AAPL shares," Icahn tweeted. "My buying seems to be going neck-and-neck with Apple's buyback program, but hope they win that race."
By mid-day trading, Apple's stock had recovered a bit to $509.63, a drop of $40.87, or 7.42%. Still, the tumble largely mirrors the reaction in after-hours trading Monday after an earnings report from Apple that showed the company sold fewer iPhones than expected during the holiday quarter.
In addition, the company said its revenue for the current quarter ending in March would be between $42 million and $44 million. That's less than the $46 million Wall Street had forecast, and raises the possibility that Apple might see a year-over-year decline in revenue from the $43.6 million it posted in the March 2013 quarter.
The concerns over the growth prospects of Apple's iPhone, combined with the uncertainty over its future product plans, seemed likely to provide fresh ammunition for Icahn's campaign to get the company to increase its stock buyback plan.
Just last week, Icahn revealed he owned $3.6 billion worth of Apple stock, though that's worth quite a bit less after Tuesday's tumble. He also filed a letter to shareholders asking them to vote for an advisory proposal at next months' Apple annual meeting that asks the company to increase its stock buyback plan.
Apple said on Monday that it paid $2.7 billion in dividends during the December quarter, and that it spent $5 billion buying back 9.6 million of its shares. Over the last six quarters, Apple has paid a total of $15 billion in dividends and $28 billion buying back its stock.
During a call with analysts on Monday, Chief Executive Tim Cook said the company continues to reevaluate its plans for its cash and noted that it increased Apple's buyback and dividend plan to $100 billion last year.
"So we're a big believer in buying back the stock," Cook said. "And that doesn't change today, whether the stock goes up or down."
Just bought $500 mln more $AAPL shares. My buying seems to be going neck-and-neck with Apple's buyback program, but hope they win that race.— Carl Icahn (@Carl_C_Icahn) January 28, 2014