Apple Inc. forecast sales that missed analysts' predictions and said it will return an additional $55 billion in cash to shareholders to compensate for a stock that's been hammered by signs of slowing growth.

The company boosted its quarterly dividend and alloted more cash to buybacks, announcing plans to borrow funds for what it called the largest share-repurchase program in history. Apple will have returned $100 billion, including past buybacks and dividends, through 2015, the Cupertino, California-based company said yesterday in a statement.

Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said new products will come later this year and in throughout 2014, and he's using more of the company's $145 billion in cash and investments to reverse the slide that erased almost $280 billion in market capitalization since September. Concerns that Apple's growth pace is slowing were reinforced by a forecast for narrowing gross margins and sales this quarter that may miss analysts' predictions by as much as $4.9 billion.

"It's a massive buyback," said Alex Gauna, an analyst at JMP Securities in San Francisco. "It makes it very tempting to take a look at, but the weak outlook and falling gross margins are going to stoke the flames of concern."

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