El problema del flujo de caja de Apple

CAMBRIDGE – Recientemente examiné el problema del cortoplacismo corporativo desde dos perspectivas infrecuentes. Una es que un poco de cortoplacismo resulta sensato. Las grandes empresas enfrentan un entorno económico, tecnológico y político cada vez más fluido debido al aumento de la globalización y la acentuación de la competencia en los mercados, el mayor potencial del cambio tecnológico para alterar el entorno de negocios de las empresas y la creciente influencia gubernamental sobre lo correcto en los negocios. En este entorno fluido, las grandes empresas deben ser cautelosas antes de realizar grandes compromisos de largo plazo.

En segundo lugar, describí cómo datos que se están revelando podrían sugerir problemas de medición para la sabiduría convencional que indica que el aumento en la velocidad de las operaciones hace que los mercados financieros se orienten más que nunca al corto plazo. Los defensores de este enfoque señalan las furiosas operaciones en Nueva York y Londres, y la disminución de los períodos de tenencia promedio de las principales acciones en las últimas décadas. De hecho, es posible que el cambio esté impulsado por una minoría que opera rápidamente y no por la reducción en los períodos de tenencia de los principales accionistas. De hecho, el período de tenencia promedio para los principales accionistas estadounidenses, como Fidelity y Vanguard, ha aumentado en las últimas décadas. (Examino esas cuestiones con mayor profundidad en un artículo más largo de próxima aparición).

El activismo de los accionistas alrededor de Apple resalta la importancia y la controversia del problema del corto plazo. Apple ha logrado un éxito espectacular durante la década pasada. Sus productos, desde iPhones e iPads hasta MacBooks, han capturado la imaginación de los consumidores, modificado mercados y producido enormes sumas de dinero para la empresa y sus accionistas. La capitalización en acciones de Apple subió vertiginosamente, al punto de convertirse en la primera empresa de un billón de dólares.

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