Last March, Apple CEO Tim Cook surprised some by announcing a new dividend program as part of a share buyback and dividend plan that will claim $45 billion from Apple's capital reserves through 2015.

Just last month, Apple released another payment of $2.5 billion. This follows the August payment of the same amount in what was Apple's first quarterly dividend payment in almost two decades. So with Apple feeling the need to give back some of its massive capital reserves, should investors expect a special dividend payment perhaps before year's end?

Not likely. At least that's what we're starting to hear. “Despite the wishes of many investors, the probability of a special Apple dividend appears low,” says Chris Whitmore, a research analyst at Deutsche Bank. “We believe the company is more focused on building a track record of predictable dividend growth (vs. a one-time lump payment) and share buybacks."

Several smaller companies and some large caps have paid big one-time payouts or moved up dividend payments before higher taxes have a chance to kick in.
“Although a special dividend would be a big short-term positive development, it appears unlikely at this point in time as special dividends do not tend to have a lasting benefit to shareholders,” Whitmore tells the WSJ.

Source: WSJ