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S&P 500 buybacks decline in Q1 2019 after four consecutive record quarters; still post 2nd highest quarter ever

- Q1 2019 share repurchases were $205.8 billion - 7.7% lower than the record Q4 2018 but 8.9% higher year-over-year.

- Apple sets another index record, spending $23.8 billion in buybacks for the quarter; company accounts for eight of the top ten record quarters.

- Buybacks for the 12-month period ending in March 2019 were a record $823.2 billion, up 43.1% year-over-year.

- One in four companies used buybacks to reduce their share count by at least four percent.

NEW YORK, June 24, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- S&P Dow Jones Indices ("S&P DJI") announced today that preliminary Q1 2019 S&P 500® stock buybacks, or share repurchases, were $205.8 billion. This ends the streak of four consecutive quarters of record buybacks as Q1 2019 declined 7.7% from the Q4 2018 record of $223.0 billion. The quarter was up 8.9% from the Q1 2018 $189.1 billion, which set a record at the time.  

Historical data on S&P 500 buybacks are available at www.spdji.com/indices/equity/sp-500

Key Takeaways:

  • The average share price during the quarter increased 0.8% after Q4 2018's average price decline of 5.3%. Combined with the 7.7% lower buyback expenditures, this resulted in approximately 20% fewer shares repurchased.
  • The cumulative four quarters of repurchases increased the percentage of issues with substantially reduced share counts of at least 4% year-over-year to 24.9%, up from the prior quarter's 18.7% and Q1 2018's 13.6%, giving 1-in-4 issues a strong EPS tailwind. 
  • S&P 500 Q1 2019 dividends totaled $117.3 billion, down 2.1% from the record setting Q4 2018 of $119.8 billion.
  • Total shareholder return of buybacks and dividends for the quarter came in at $323.1 billion, down 5.7% from the record Q4 2018 period expenditure of $342.8 billion, and up 8.4% from the $298.2 billion reported for Q1 2018.  
  • Total shareholder return for the 12-month period ending March 2019 set a record at $1.288 trillion, up 2.0% from the prior 12-month record in Q4 2018 of $1.263 trillion, and up 28.3% from the $1.003 trillion from the comparable Q1 2018 12-month period.

"Despite the quarterly decline, companies continued to buy back shares in earnest, posting the second highest expenditure on record," said Howard Silverblatt, Senior Index Analyst at S&P Dow Jones Indices. "With Q2 2019 currently projected to be another strong buyback quarter, investors will need to start separating EPS growth in two categories – actual growth vs. growth from share count reductions. You don't want to pay the same multiple for buybacks as you do for growth."

Silverblatt also found that buybacks continue to be top heavy, with the top 20 issues accounting for 51.2% of the buybacks.  For the 12-months ending March 2019, the top 20 issues represented 41.4% of all buybacks, compared to 36.1% for the 2018 period. On an issue level, 389 issues reported buybacks for Q1 2019, down from 404 in Q4 2018 and 397 in Q1 2018. For the 12 months ending March 2019, 442 issues reported buybacks compared to 431 for the comparable 2018 period.

Q1 2019 GICS® Sector Analysis:

Information Technology buybacks continued to dominate as they increased 10.9% to $68.0 billion compared to $61.3 billion for Q4 2018. Twelve-month expenditures were up 82.9% to $282.1 billion from $154.8 billion spent for the same period in 2018. The sector represents 33.0% of the index's buybacks for the quarter, up from 27.5% for Q4 2018.

Energy buyback expenditures continued to decline, falling 50.6% to $4.3 billion compared to $8.7 billion for Q4 2018. Energy spent $13.1 billion five years ago in Q1 2014.

Consumer sectors continued to split as Consumer Discretionary buybacks decreased 30.9% to $17.7 billion, down from $25.7 billion for Q4 2018; in the 12-months ending in Q1 2019, buybacks were $85.7 billion, down 0.4% from $86.1 billion. Consumer Staples increased 2.1% to $9.8 billion, up from $9.6 billion for Q4 2018; for the 12-month period they were down 17.2% to $36.0 billion from $43.6 billion.

Issues:

The five issues with the highest total buybacks for Q1 2019 are:

  • Apple (AAPL) again led in buybacks spending a new record $23.8 billion in Q1 2019, up from $10.1 billion spent for Q4 2018. Apple holds 8 of the 10 records for quarterly buybacks, spending $75.1 billion on buybacks over the past year, $234.7 billion over the last five-year period, and $284.3 billion over the last 10-year period.
  • Oracle (ORCL): $10.0 billion for Q1 2019, a tick up from their Q4 2018 expenditure; in the last 12 months they spent $35.3 billion, up from $7.4 billion
  • Pfizer (PFE): $8.9 billion for Q1 2019, up from the $5.0 billion spent in Q4 2018; in the last 12-months they spent $15.0 billion, up from $6.1 billion.
  • Bank of America (BAC): $6.3 billion for Q1 2019, up from $5.2 billion for Q4 2018; in the last 12-months they spent $21.5 billion, up from $14.9 billion.
  • Cisco Systems (ORCL): $6.1 billion for Q1 2019, up from $5.2 billion for Q4 2018; in the last 12-months they spent $22.8 billion, up from $13.4 billion.

For more information about S&P Dow Jones Indices, please visit www.spdji.com.   

 

S&P Dow Jones Indices









S&P 500, $ U.S. BILLIONS

(preliminary and estimates in bold)






PERIOD

MARKET

OPERATING

AS REPORTED





DIVIDEND &


VALUE

EARNINGS

EARNINGS

DIVIDENDS

BUYBACKS

DIVIDEND 

BUYBACK 

BUYBACK 


$ BILLIONS

$ BILLIONS

$ BILLIONS

$ BILLIONS

$ BILLIONS

YIELD

YIELD

YIELD

12 Mo Mar,'19 Prelim.

$23,618.59

$1,286.88

$1,129.39

$464.46

$823.17

1.97%

3.49%

5.45%

12 Mo Mar,'18

$22,495.97

$1,129.94

$986.49

$428.09

$575.30

1.90%

2.56%

4.46%

2018

$21,026.90

$1,281.66

$1,119.43

$456.31

$806.41

2.17%

3.84%

6.01%

2017

$22,821.24

$1,066.00

$940.86

$419.77

$519.40

1.84%

2.28%

4.12%

2016

$19,267.93

$919.85

$818.55

$397.21

$536.38

2.06%

2.78%

4.85%










3/29/2019 Prelim.

$23,619

$316.48

$291.23

$117.33

$205.81

1.97%

3.49%

5.45%

12/31/2018

$21,027

$293.82

$242.91

$119.81

$222.98

2.17%

3.84%

6.01%

9/30/2018

$24,579

$349.04

$306.70

$115.72

$203.76

1.81%

2.93%

4.75%

6/30/2018

$23,036

$327.53

$288.55

$111.60

$190.62

1.89%

2.80%

4.69%

3/29/2018

$22,496

$311.26

$281.28

$109.18

$189.05

1.90%

2.56%

4.46%

12/29/2017

$22,821

$288.93

$230.12

$109.46

$136.97

1.84%

2.28%

4.12%

9/29/2017

$21,579

$268.35

$243.68

$105.45

$129.17

1.92%

2.40%

4.32%

6/30/2017

$20,762

$261.39

$231.40

$104.01

$120.11

1.96%

2.41%

4.37%

3/31/2017

$20,276

$247.32

$235.65

$100.86

$133.15

1.98%

2.51%

4.49%

12/31/2016

$19,268

$240.11

$207.93

$103.82

$135.29

2.06%

2.78%

4.85%

9/30/2016

$18,742

$247.98

$219.46

$98.43

$112.20

2.10%

2.92%

5.01%

6/30/2016

$18,193

$222.77

$201.79

$98.30

$127.50

2.14%

3.22%

5.36%

3/31/2016

$17,958

$208.99

$189.37

$96.67

$161.39

2.15%

3.28%

5.43%

12/31/2015

$17,900

$201.95

$163.76

$99.39

$145.88

2.14%

3.20%

5.33%

9/30/2015

$16,917

$224.14

$204.58

$95.07

$150.58

2.22%

3.30%

5.52%

6/30/2015

$18,219

$230.84

$201.35

$94.45

$131.56

2.03%

3.04%

5.07%

3/31/2015

$18,303

$228.45

$193.05

$93.41

$144.13

1.98%

2.94%

4.92%


 

S&P Dow Jones Indices








S&P 500 SECTOR BUYBACKS








SECTOR $ MILLIONS

Q1,'19

Q4,'18

Q1,'18

12MoMar,'19

12MoMar,'18

5-YEARS

10-YEARS









Consumer Discretionary

$17,721

$25,652

$18,679

$85,716

$86,053

$432,669

$715,393

Consumer Staples

$9,786

$9,588

$7,257

$35,978

$43,620

$212,712

$436,881

Energy

$4,294

$8,698

$10,115

$24,606

$20,744

$96,306

$264,764

Financials

$42,845

$45,641

$33,802

$159,097

$128,772

$573,422

$777,330

Healthcare

$30,749

$31,336

$35,632

$103,808

$73,605

$406,585

$674,182

Industrials

$19,426

$23,026

$16,628

$81,038

$56,075

$352,199

$528,673

Information Technology

$67,986

$61,298

$63,424

$283,088

$154,795

$840,666

$1,283,882

Materials

$4,771

$5,857

$2,283

$16,880

$6,781

$68,582

$106,004

Real Estate

$409

$1,480

$883

$3,293

$4,153

$8,779

$8,779

Communication Services

$6,345

$9,556

$170

$26,412

$464

$34,520

$65,078

Utilities

$1,479

$850

$179

$3,251

$237

$7,714

$17,723

TOTAL

$205,811

$222,980

$189,051

$823,168

$575,299

$3,034,155

$4,878,688


 

S&P Dow Jones Indices








S&P 500 20 LARGEST Q1 2019 BUYBACKS, $ MILLIONS 







Company  

Ticker

Sector

Q1 2019

12-Months

12-Months

5-Year

10-Year

Indicated




Buybacks

Mar,'19

Mar,'18

Buybacks

Buybacks

Dividend




$ Million

$ Million

$ Million

$ Million

$ Million

$ Million

Apple

AAPL

Information Technology

$23,811

$75,149

$50,015

$234,736

$284,260

$13,769

Oracle 

ORCL

Information Technology

$10,001

$35,307

$7,428

$66,641

$93,779

$3,445

Pfizer 

PFE

Health Care

$8,865

$15,000

$6,063

$39,703

$72,808

$8,189

Bank of America 

BAC

Financials

$6,263

$21,499

$14,944

$46,890

$51,552

$14,117

Cisco Systems

CSCO

Information Technology

$6,067

$22,790

$13,394

$50,022

$81,759

$5,679

JPMorgan Chase 

JPM

Financials

$5,091

$20,403

$17,249

$59,556

$78,246

$10,478

Wells Fargo 

WFC

Financials

$5,084

$22,712

$11,103

$62,045

$75,017

$5,795

Microsoft

MSFT

Information Technology

$4,753

$17,272

$10,124

$69,001

$108,382

$6,163

Citigroup 

C

Financials

$4,413

$16,093

$15,544

$50,256

$53,683

$1,791

Eli Lilly

LLY

Health Care

$3,500

$6,551

$1,400

$10,045

$12,519

$7,995

Union Pacific 

UNP

Industrials

$3,487

$10,546

$4,420

$24,876

$31,879

$6,145

Amgen

AMGN

Health Care

$3,032

$10,255

$13,462

$29,934

$48,711

$4,233

Alphabet 

GOOGL

Communication Services

$3,025

$9,927

$5,892

$22,419

$23,337

$0

UnitedHealth Group

UNH

Health Care

$3,002

$4,852

$3,468

$14,579

$28,367

$9,587

Booking Holdings

BKNG

Consumer Discretionary

$2,773

$8,025

$2,336

$15,325

$16,859

$4,199

Starbucks 

SBUX

Consumer Discretionary

$2,714

$11,831

$4,259

$21,289

$23,828

$6,159

Boeing 

BA

Industrials

$2,574

$8,605

$9,987

$38,655

$43,246

$0

Intel 

INTC

Information Technology

$2,530

$11,346

$4,707

$33,877

$59,837

$1,750

Johnson & Johnson

JNJ

Health Care

$2,206

$6,630

$4,460

$35,129

$56,735

$3,609

Walgreens Boots Alliance

WBA

Consumer Staples

$2,201

$5,816

$7,288

$16,439

$22,373

$5,588

Top 20   



$105,392

$340,608

$207,543

$941,417

$1,267,178

$118,690

S&P 500



$205,811

$823,168

$575,299

$3,034,155

$4,878,688

$522,886

Top 20 % of S&P 500



51.21%

41.38%

36.08%

31.03%

25.97%

22.70%


 

S&P Dow Jones Indices




S&P 500 20 Largest Quarterly Buybacks, $ Millions, as of Q1 2019;  Apple added


$ MILLIONS

QUARTER

COMPANY

SECTOR


$23,811

Q1 2019

Apple

Information Technology

1

$22,908

Q1 2018

Apple

Information Technology

2

$21,860

Q2 2018

Apple

Information Technology

3

$21,162

Q2 2006

QUALCOMM

Information Technology

4

$19,364

Q3 2018

Apple

Information Technology

5

$18,036

Q1 2014

Apple

Information Technology

6

$17,319

Q3 2014

Apple

Information Technology

7

$16,413

Q2 2013

Apple

Information Technology

8

$15,707

Q3 2007

International Business Machines 

Information Technology

9

$13,420

Q3 2015

Apple

Information Technology

10

$12,852

Q4 2013

Johnson & Johnson 

Healthcare

11

$12,318

Q4 2016

Allergan plc 

Healthcare

12

$12,183

Q2 2012

Johnson & Johnson 

Healthcare

13

$11,480

Q4 2016

Apple

Information Technology

14

$11,133

Q4 2017

Apple

Information Technology

15

$10,776

Q2 2016

Apple

Information Technology

16

$10,724

Q2 2015

Apple

Information Technology

17

$10,723

Q1 2016

Home Depot

Consumer Discretionary

18

$10,697

Q1 2018

Amgen 

Healthcare

19

$10,114

Q4 2018

Apple

Information Technology

20


 

S&P Dow Jones Indices





S&P 500 Q1 2019 Buyback Report









SECTOR

DIVIDEND

BUYBACK 

COMBINED



YIELD

YIELD

YIELD


Consumer Discretionary

1.38%

3.11%

4.49%


Consumer Staples

3.36%

1.77%

5.13%


Energy

3.85%

2.06%

5.90%


Financials

2.41%

5.06%

7.46%


HealthCare

1.81%

2.97%

4.78%


Industrials

2.06%

3.46%

5.52%


Information Technology

1.57%

5.23%

6.80%


Materials

2.16%

2.46%

4.62%


Real Estate

3.20%

0.43%

3.63%


Communications Services

1.66%

1.78%

3.44%


Utilities

3.29%

0.35%

3.64%


S&P 500

2.13%

3.36%

5.49%


   Uses full values (unadjusted for float)




   Dividends based on indicated; buybacks based on the last 12-months ending Q1,'19


 

Share Count Reduction (SCR)

SCR 

SCR

(Y/Y diluted shares used for EPS)

>=4%

<=-4%

Q1 2019

8.05%

24.90%

Q4 2018

8.45%

18.71%

Q3 2018

6.43%

17.67%

Q2 2018

6.20%

15.60%

Q1 2018

7.01%

13.63%

Q4 2017

6.83%

15.06%

Q3 2017

8.62%

14.23%

Q2 2017

10.00%

14.00%

Q1 2017

12.00%

14.80%

Q4 2016

10.48%

19.35%

Q3 2016

9.94%

23.73%

Q2 2016

10.48%

26.61%

Q1 2016

10.06%

28.17%

Q4 2015

9.48%

25.81%

Q3 2015

9.64%

22.69%

Q2 2015

9.04%

21.08%

Q1 2015

7.62%

21.04%

Q4 2014

6.04%

21.33%


 

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