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Apple goes big with a $14 billion stock buyback

With an upcoming shareholder meeting where investors will be asked to vote on share repurchases, the tech giant announces a major buyback.

James Martin/CNET

Apple took advantage of investor disappointment with the company's first-quarter financial results to accelerate its stock buyback plans.

The company repurchased $14 billion of its own shares in two weeks, according to The Wall Street Journal. Apple CEO Tim Cook told the Journal Thursday that he intends for the move to be both "aggressive" and "opportunistic."

"It means that we are betting on Apple. It means that we are really confident on what we are doing and what we plan to do," Cook told the Journal. "We're not just saying that. We're showing that with our actions."

Apple's projections for first-quarter revenue fell short of analysts' estimates last month. After the company reported a slight decline in net income during its financial report, shares fell in after-hours trading by 8 percent.

Apple has roughly $160 billion in the bank and investors -- most notably activist investor Carl Icahn -- have been appealing to the company to return some of that money to shareholders.

Icahn, who owns about $4 billion in Apple shares, has asked the company to commit to at least $50 billion of share repurchases next year. Meanwhile, Apple has urged investors to reject Icahn's "precatory proposal." Shareholders will be asked to vote on this at the company's annual shareholder meeting on February 28.

With this latest stock buyback, Cook said Apple has now repurchased more than $40 billion of its shares within the last year, which is a record for any company, according to the Journal. The CEO also said he plans to release "updates" to Apple's buyback program in March or April.