Thursday, March 26, 2015

Strong Buyback Activity Reducing Share Count

S&P Dow Jones Indices is reporting that stock buybacks fell sequentially in the fourth quarter last year to $132.6 billion from the third quarter level of  $145.2 billion. However, on a year over year basis, buybacks increased by 2.5%. this still strong buyback activity has served as a tailwind for earnings growth as the report notes 20% of the S&P 500 companies have reduced their share count. Howard Silverblatt, Senior Index Analyst at S&P Dow Jones Indices notes, "...While fourth quarter expenditures were down 8.7%, the number of issues reducing their share count by at least 4% year-over-year, and therefore increasing their EPS by at least that amount, continues to be in the 20% area – a significant level." Other key metrics noted in the report:
  • "More issues reduced their share count this quarter than last, with 308 doing so in Q4, up from 257 in Q3 and 276 in Q4 2013."
  • "Significant changes (generally considered 1% or greater for the quarter) continued to strongly favor reductions, and also increased, as 117 issues reduced their share count by at least 1%, compared to last quarter’s 101 and the 112 which did so in Q4 2013."
  • "Share reduction change impacts of at least 4% (Q4 2014 over Q4 2013), which can be seen in EPS comparisons, were flat at 99 in Q4 2014 from Q3, but up from the 83 posted in Q4 2013."
Although the earnings growth trend appears to be slowing, cash generation continues to be strong for companies. Silverblatt notes with banks now appearing to focus on dividends and buybacks, 2015 could witness another strong year for dividends and buybacks for the S&P 500 Index.

From The Blog of HORAN Capital Advisors

From The Blog of HORAN Capital Advisors

Data Source: S&P Dow Jones Indices

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