Share Buybacks Are Toast for 2020: Oops, That Was the $4.6 Trillion Driver of the Stock-Market-Bubble

by Wolf Richter
Wolf Street

Even after the bottom is perceived to be in, “buybacks may be slow to come back” as companies struggle for cash amid potential government restrictions on buybacks and their dismal public image: S&P Dow Jones Indices.

Share buybacks by companies in the S&P 500 Index in the fourth quarter 2019, before the Coronavirus was even a factor, fell 18% from a year earlier, to $181.6 billion, after falling 13% and 14% year-over-year in the prior two quarters, from the blistering tax-cut records set in 2018, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices today. For the full year, buybacks fell 9.6% from the tax-cut record in 2018, to $729 billion in 2019, the second highest annual total ever.

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