Buying back shares
Share buybacks are beneficial to investors because the fewer shares in circulation the more expensive and more valuable they are. 2021 will be the year with $1 trillion in share buybacks in the market.
After the COVID-19 pandemic temporarily collapsed the stock market in 2020, it has now been over a year and a half and the US economy is recovering at a rapid pace. The practice of share buybacks has also recovered, particularly among the largest technology companies and banks.
In the first quarter of 2021, the six companies with the largest total share buybacks, according to the S&P Global report, are Apple (AAPL), Alphabet (GOOG, GOOGL), Microsoft (MSFT), Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B), Facebook (FB) and JPMorgan Chase (JPM).
Large-cap companies tend to have the highest dividend payouts and the largest share buyback programmes.
This week, many major US corporations are reporting their quarterly results and their reports will contain announcements of share buyback amounts.
For example, Qualcomm (QCOM) shares rose this month after the company announced a $10bn share buyback plan, while Lockheed Martin (LMT) shares rose similarly on news of a $5bn expansion of its buyback programme.
With trillions of dollars in cash, US companies are aiming for a $1 trillion corporate share buyback milestone this year.
Share buyback tax
"Instead of spending billions to enrich executives through share buybacks of their companies, Wall Street should reinvest in workers," said Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown.
In addition, the increase in the US corporate tax rate that Democrats have sought to implement has met with resistance from Republicans.
Experts also pointed out that the US "is still in an early stage of economic growth" and this sets an overall positive trajectory for the stock market.