September 22, 2009
– Comments (4)
I couldn't help but notice that with stock prices down, companies buyback of their own stock is down. Seems the buy backs rewarded the investors who sold the stock.
If there needed to be more evidence that market participants aren't rational... this is another one.
thats interesting, dwot.
I wouldn't be surprised to see that companies are typically out of cycle this way and that stock buybacks typically don't correspond to future (at least short term future) higher prices.
Similarly, after a short time in the corporate world, and after knowing a few people who work for big public companies, I can say that employees of big companies shouldn't be considered great investors. I think too much is put into their buying and selling of their own companies stock.
For example, when I first met an exec (though I don't know if he's high enough to be an "insider" for these purposes, but he would be awfully close) at a big fortune 500 copmany in 2007 he offered that he was buying his companies stock because things were very good there, business was good. Last fall, the same guy, whitefaced and clearly stressed by the goings on in his world, offered that he wouldn't buy that companies stock right now, things are very bad and he didn't know if they'd get worse.
I think that businesspepole and execs aren't necessarily good investors, and they tend to buy when business is good and sell when business is bad or something like that, as much as shrewdly determining the relative value of their companies stock and buying cheap/selling dear.
And, frankly, sometimes insiders get a worse view of a company than outsiders. A thorough read of the yahoo message boards for various companies can reveal many employees and former employees, often with skewed perceptions of their own company and its condition.
I think the resons for the lack of buy backs in the bad time is that 1) everyone is trying to preserve cash in case of unforeseen circumstance 2) in bad time it is much more difficult for companies to get credit, their eanings power deminishes and they don't look as good to the creditors. So, they start hoarding cash for safety.
In good time credit and cash are flowing freely and it is much easier to spend it on buybacks.
Capital allocation is difficult and most companies are pretty bad at it.