Biggest Share Buyback Queens in Q3: Tech and Buffett. The Banks Are Gone. But Share Buybacks Plunged 42% YoY

by Wolf Richter
Wolf Street

Funded with debt: Share buybacks totaled nearly $5 trillion since 2012. Over same period, corporate debt soared by $4.5 trillion.

The big four banks are out. And other companies are out. But Big Tech is in, as big as ever, and Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, after pooh-poohing share buybacks for years, is now the second largest share buyback queen.

In the third quarter 2020, companies in the S&P 500 Index bought back $101.8 billion of their own shares, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices this morning. While this still sounds like a lot of share buybacks, it’s down 42% from Q3 last year, and down 54% from peak share-buyback mania in Q4 2018 following the corporate tax cuts:

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