Preliminary buyback results for the first quarter of 2009 show S&P 500 companies repurchased $30.78 billion of their company's stock. This level of buyback activity was last reached in June of 2003 when companies repurchased $28.36 billion. This June 2003 level marked the low point for buyback activity until the level reached this quarter.
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"Buybacks are off 82% from their peak during the third quarter of 2007 when S&P 500 companies spent $172 billion on share repurchases.
...a closer look at the data reveals two more telling stories. The first is that Exxon Mobil represented over a quarter of the buybacks that took place during the first quarter. The second is that 83 of the issues that repurchased shares during the fourth quarter of 2008 did not participate in a stock buyback program during the first quarter of 2009."
S&P 500 Stock Buybacks Rereat 73% in the First
Quarter; Lowest Since Second Quarter of 2003
Standard & Poor's
By: Howard Silverblatt
June 18, 2009