Share buybacks have been helping keep the bull market afloat — these 8 companies have contributed the most

Spencer Platt/Getty ImagesOver the decade, S&P 500 companies bought back $US4.4 trillion shares, including the record-breaking buybacks from Apple that totaled $US226.6 billion.
  • Companies who were flush with cash started to buy back shares after the S&P 500 started to recover from the global financial crisis.
  • Buybacks cut a company’s total share count, and spread the profits over fewer shares, boosting their per-share earnings.
  • Over the past decade, S&P 500 companies bought back $US4.4 trillion shares, including the record-breaking buybacks from Apple that totaled $US226.6 billion.
  • Share buybacks are expected to continue growing for the coming months, according to an analyst from S&P Dow Jones Indices.

For the 9-1/2-year equity bull run, share buybacks have been a solid backbone of the stock market’s continued growth. Buybacks cut a company’s total share count, and spread the profits over fewer shares, boosting their per-share earnings and satisfying Wall Street.

After the S&P 500 started to recover from its financial crisis low in March 2009, companies that were flush with cash started to buy back shares. According to S&P Dow Jones Indices, S&P 500 companies have bought back $US4.4 trillion shares over the past decade, including the record-breaking buybacks from Apple that totaled $US226.6 billion. No company has bought back more shares than Apple, which announced in March 2012 it would use a large chunk of cash to make the purchases.

The amount in share repurchases executed by S&P 500 companies hit a record of $US190.6 billion in the second quarter, a 58.7 % year-over-year increase, and that number is expected to keep growing for the coming months, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices.

“Given the record earnings, strong cash-flow, investor demand and corporate statements, the indications are that the high level will continue for the rest of the year,” said Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at S&P Dow Jones Indices.

Here are the top eight companies that contributed $US689.4 billion, or 16% of the total S&P global 500 companies buybacks, mostly from the information technology and financial sectors.


8. Home Depot

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Ticker: HD

Sector: Consumer Discretionary

Market cap: $US243.5 billion

10-year buybacks: $US50.7 billion

Source: S&P Dow Jones Indices


7. Intel

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Ticker: INTC

Sector: Information Technology

Market cap: $US216.9 billion

10-year buybacks: $US55 billion

Source: S&P Dow Jones Indices


6. Wells Fargo

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Ticker: WFC

Sector: Financials

Market cap: $US272.1 billion

10-year buybacks: $US56.4 billion

Source: S&P Dow Jones Indices


5. JPMorgan

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Ticker: JPM

Sector: Financials

Market cap:$US399.2 billion

10-year buybacks: $US62.8 billion

Source: S&P Dow Jones Indices


4. Oracle

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Ticker: ORCL

Sector: Information Technology

Market cap: $US190 billion

10-year buybacks: $US67.1 billion

Source: S&P Dow Jones Indices


3. Cisco Systems

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Ticker: CSCO

Sector: Information Technology

Market cap:$US227.5 billion

10-year buybacks: $US67.9 billion

Source: S&P Dow Jones Indices


2. Microsoft

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Ticker: MSFT

Sector: Information Technology

Market cap: $US878.6 billion

10-year buybacks: $US102.8 billion

Source: S&P Dow Jones Indices


1. Apple

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Ticker: AAPL

Sector: Information Technology

Market cap: $US1.1 trillion

10-year buybacks: $US226.6 billion

Source: S&P Dow Jones Indices

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