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S&P: Stock buybacks decline in 4Q, snapping 9-quarter string of increases
BOSTON (AP) ' America's biggest corporations spent less money to buy back their stock in the fourth quarter. It's the first time since early 2009 that stock repurchases have declined.
S&P Indices said on Wednesday that buybacks by companies in the Standard & Poor's 500 index totaled $91.5 billion in the final three months of 2011. That's down nearly 23 percent from last year's third quarter.
Repurchases had increased each quarter since the second quarter of 2009.
Buybacks reward investors by increasing the value of remaining shares and lifting per-share earnings results.
The decreasing buyback activity in the fourth quarter came as the stock market rose about 11 percent. That means companies had good timing in reducing buybacks, because the rising market made it more expensive to repurchase shares.