Corporate America stepped up the pace of its share repurchase programs marginally in first-quarter 2017, scooping up $131.2 billion worth of stock—although buyback activity in recent quarters is still lower than where it was 12 to 18 months ago.
That $131.2 billion in the first three months of 2017 is an increase of 3 percent from the $127.4 billion spent in the final three months of 2016. Then again, companies spent $151.5 billion in the year-ago period, and fewer companies are buying back stock overall.
So yes, whatever your opinion of share repurchase programs may be, you can generally keep that attitude for now—but the pace of activity has receded from the high-water mark we saw in late 2015 and early 2016.
Don’t take our word for it here; read the more detailed research report in our Research section. But for those few of you not likely to click through to the original report, we’ll run down the major points.
See nifty chart, below.
Who’s been spending the most on share repurchase programs? All the big name companies you’d expect: Apple above all ($142 billion spent since 2012); with Exxon Mobil, IBM, Microsoft, and Oracle following behind in the $45 billion to $55 billion range.
You can see all the details in our research report, including historical data for big spenders in recent quarters and “share repurchase yield” to measure the effect repurchases had on market capitalization. Enjoy.
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