Howard Silverblatt of S&P notes,
"At this point, companies are continuing to use buybacks to prevent earnings dilution from employee options, as well as shares used for dividend reinvestment programs. Few companies are venturing outside of the box to purchase additional shares, as was the common practice from late 2005 through mid-2007."
Silverblatt goes on to note,
"Exxon Mobil's buybacks have reduced its share count by 18.5% over the past five years ($129 billion), which may cost it its position as the largest company in the world."
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|Click to enlarge|
|From The Blog of HORAN Capital Advisors|
Interestingly, as the box in the chart details, the cumulative earnings generated by the companies in the S&P 500 Index since 2001 have been returned to shareholders either in the form of a dividend or stock buybacks.