June 5, 2018 / 6:21 PM / 15 days ago

U.S. companies continued stock buyback frenzy in May: report

(Reuters) - U.S. companies continued a shopping spree for their own shares in May, making $173.6 billion in buyback announcements, the highest monthly total ever, according to a research report.

FILE PHOTO: The Apple Inc. store is seen in Los Angeles, California, U.S., September 16, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo

In May U.S.-listed companies also sold new shares at the fastest pace in three years, but cash takeovers of companies with U.S. listings fell to a three-month low, according to TrimTabs Investment Research.

The high number of buyback announcements was due “in large part” to expected corporate tax savings, it said.

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TrimTabs said Apple Inc (AAPL.O) was the biggest spender, with an announcement for potential buybacks of up to $100 billion, while Micron Technology (MU.O) made a $10.0 billion announcement, followed by Qualcomm Inc’s (QCOM.O) $8.8 billion buyback proposal.

Adobe Systems (ADBE.O) said it would buy $8.0 billion of its stock and T-Mobile (TMUS.O) announced $7.5 billion in buybacks.

The tally for cash takeovers involving companies with U.S. listings was $27.7 billion, according to TrimTabs. It said that the largest deals were Japanese drugmaker Takeda Pharmaceutical’s (4502.T) offer for rival Shire PLC (SHP.L) (SHPG.O) for $9.0 billion and Elliott Management’s $6.3 billion buyout bid for Athenahealth (ATHN.O).

Underwriters were also active in May, with new equity offerings spiking to a three-year high of $43.6 billion, according to the report. It said that AXA Equitable Holdings’ (EQH.N) $3.6 billion listing was the largest initial public offering since March 2017.

S&P 500 companies returned a record $1 trillion to shareholders the past year, according to a late May report from S&P Dow Jones indices. It cited a surge in dividends and stock buybacks after sweeping corporate tax cuts introduced by Republicans late in 2017.

Reporting By Sinéad Carew, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien

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