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Stock Buyback Plans Match CFOs’ Optimism

Stock buybacks may roar to life again in 2021 after being dampened by cash conservation measures to keep balance sheets fortified during the pandemic.

Share repurchases began to accelerate in the third quarter of 2020 (the latest quarter for which numbers are available), when 38% of the S&P 500 bought back at least $5 million worth of shares. That was up from 34% in the second quarter. Total buybacks hit $101.8 billion by dollars invested, up nearly 15% from the second-quarter total.

Recent CFO comments on earnings calls and announcements of new buyback programs suggest execution of buybacks may continue at a picked-up pace.

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