May 22, 2018 / 2:37 PM / 4 months ago

U.S. stock buybacks in earnings season top $183 billion: TrimTabs

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. companies announced $183.4 billion in share buybacks during the most recent earnings season, according to TrimTabs Investment Research.

The total buyback figure is the second-largest on record, TrimTabs said. The previous earnings season, in January and February, saw U.S. companies announce $191.4 billion in share repurchases.

The swelling figures for buybacks have been driven by the December U.S. tax overhaul, which lowered the corporate tax rate. Several companies have since directed their tax savings to share repurchases.

“The buyback boom early this year confirms our view that the main use of corporate America’s tax savings will be takeovers and stock buybacks rather than capital investment or hiring,” TrimTabs said in its report.

Though the total volume of buybacks is higher than usual, the number of buyback announcements was in line with the average for the previous eight earnings seasons, according to TrimTabs.

Five companies accounted for 75 percent of the most recent season’s buyback announcements. More than half of the total was contributed by Apple Inc (AAPL.O), which on May 1 said it had committed to an additional $100 billion for its stock repurchase program.

Broadcom Inc (AVGO.O), Facebook Inc (FB.O), Qualcomm Inc (QCOM.O) and T-Mobile US Inc (TMUS.O) made the next four largest buyback commitments. Their combined announcements totaled $37.3 billion.

Reporting by April Joyner; Editing by Alden Bentley and Nick Zieminski

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