The WSJ blog tallies the buybacks for 2007 and financial stocks were at the top of the list for buybacks.
I simply do not see how buying back shares well into a bull run does anything for investors.
"Last year, S&P 500 companies repurchased a record $589 billion of their own shares, up 36% from 2006 and more than quadruple the level of 2003, according to Standard & Poor’s. Financials had the biggest plate at the table, accounting for 20% of all buybacks in 2007."
So, how much private equity have financial institutions had to raise lately? They did share buybacks of $118 billion at the top of the bull run and now many of them are raising equity at about 20% of the price...
Overall, companies are down 25% on the year so these buy backs have likely been a disaster for investors, and essentially rewarded those who sold.
How do these guys get away with this?
"It’s a dramatic turnabout. As recently as January, Lehman authorized a 100 million share buyback plan. Now, such grand plans look like something for the history books."