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S&P 500 Q4 2018 Buybacks Set 4th Consecutive Quarterly Record at $223 Billion; 2018 Sets Record $806 Billion

- Q4 share repurchases increased 62.8% year-over-year to a record $223.0 billion

- This is the fourth consecutive quarterly record -- longest streak in the 20 years SPDJI has tracked

- Total 2018 buybacks set record $806.4 billion, up 55.3% year-over-year, and up 36.9% from the record $589.1 billion set in 2007

- Almost every S&P 500 constituent -- 444 -- repurchased shares in 2018, up from 424 in 2017

- Apple spent the most in 2018 buybacks at $74.2 billion

NEW YORK, March 25, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- S&P Dow Jones Indices ("S&P DJI") announced today that preliminary Q4 2018 S&P 500® stock buybacks, or share repurchases, set a fourth consecutive record of $223.0 billion. This displaces the previous record of $203.8 billion, set during Q3 2018 and is a 62.8% increase from the $137.0 billion reported for Q4 2017.

For the year 2018, buybacks set an annual (and 12-month) record of $806.4 billion, up 55.3% from the prior year's $519.4 billion, and up 36.9% from the prior annual record set in 2007, of $589.1 billion

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

Key Takeaways:

  • The record buybacks came as Q4 2018 stock prices declined an average 5.3%, which increased the number of shares that companies could repurchase for the same amount of capital.
  • As a result, the percentage of companies that substantially reduced share counts of at least 4% year-over-year rose to 18.8% (90 total issues), up from the prior quarter's 17.7% (88 total issues) and Q4 2017's 15.1% (70 total issues), giving EPS a stronger tailwind. 
  • S&P 500 Q4 2018 dividends totaled $119.8 billion, a new record, up 3.5% from the $115.7 billion in Q3 2018.
  • Total shareholder return of buybacks and dividends for the quarter set a record of $342.8 billion, up 39.1% from the $246.4 billion reported for Q4 2017.  
  • Total shareholder return for 2018 set a record at $1.263 trillion, surpassing Q3's 12-month record of $1.166 trillion, and up 34.5% from $931.9 billion from 2017.

"Buybacks were again favored over dividends in both the rate of growth and aggregate dollars spent," said Howard Silverblatt, Senior Index Analyst at S&P Dow Jones Indices. "Companies continued to spend more of their tax savings on these share repurchases as they boosted earnings through significantly reduced share counts. Adding to the share reduction, and therefore the EPS impact, was Q4's stock price decline, which permitted companies to buy even more shares for their dollars and reduce share count more efficiently."

Silverblatt added "buybacks broadened out in Q4, as the top 20 issues accounted for 44.4% of all S&P 500 buybacks, near the recent historical average of 43.7%, down from Q3's 54.3%, Q2's 49.7% and Q1's 49.5%. For the year, however, the top 20 accounted for 42.2% of the buybacks, substantially up from 2017's 32.3%."  

Q4 2018 GICS® Sector Analysis:

Information Technology buybacks declined 25.5% to $61.3 billion compared to $82.3 billion for Q3 2018, as 2018 expenditures were up 134.4% to $278.5 billion from $118.8 billion in 2017. The sector represents 27.5% of the index's buybacks for the quarter and 34.5% for all of 2018.

Health Care expenditures increased 116.4% to $31.3 billion compared to $14.5 billion for Q3 2018, as 2018 amounted to $108.7 billion, up 67.3% from the 2017 $65.0 billion expenditure.

Consumer sectors split (again), as Consumer Discretionary buybacks increased their expenditure 30.3% to $25.7 billion, up from $19.7 billion for Q3 2018; 2018 was $86.7 billion, up 3.7% from $83.6 billion. Consumer Staples decreased 4.4% to $9.6 billion, down from $10.0 billion for Q3 2018; 2018 was down 34.2% to $33.4 billion from $50.8 billion.

Issues:

The five issues with the highest total buybacks for Q4 2018 are:

  • Apple (AAPL) led in buybacks, spending $10.1 billion in Q4 2018, down from $19.4 billion spent for Q3 2018. Its Q4 2018 expenditure ranked 19th highest historically; for the year, Apple spent $74.2 billion on buybacks, up from 2017's $34.4 billion; over the five-year period the company spent $229.0 billion, and $260.4 billion over the 10-year period.
  • Oracle (ORCL): $10.0 billion for Q4 2018, down from $10.3 billion for Q3 2018; 2018 was $29.3 billion, up $4.0 billion in 2017.  
  • Wells Fargo (WFC): $7.3 billion for Q4 2018, slightly down from the $7.4 billion spent in Q3 2018; 2018 was $21.0 billion, up from $10.3 billion in 2017.
  • Microsoft (MSFT): $6.4 billion for Q4 2018, up from $3.7 billion for Q3 2018; 2018 was $16.3 billion, up from $8.4 billion in 2017.
  • Merck (MRK): $5.9 billion for Q4 2018, up from $1.0 billion for Q3 2018; 2018 was $9.1 billion, up from $4.0 billion in 2017.

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 in bold)






PERIOD

MARKET

OPERATING

AS REPORTED





DIVIDEND &


VALUE

EARNINGS

EARNINGS

DIVIDENDS

BUYBACKS

DIVIDEND 

BUYBACK 

BUYBACK 


$ BILLIONS

$ BILLIONS

$ BILLIONS

$BILLIONS

$ BILLIONS

YIELD

YIELD

YIELD

2018 Prelim.

$21,033.30

$1,281.83

$1,116.83

$456.31

$806.41

2.17%

3.83%

6.00%

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%

2015

$17,899.56

$885.38

$762.74

$382.32

$572.16

2.14%

3.20%

5.33%

2014

$18,245.16

$1,004.22

$909.09

$350.43

$553.28

1.92%

3.03%

4.95%










5YR Total (mkt avg)

$19,853.44

$5,157.28

$4,548.07

$2,006.05

$2,987.62

10.10%

15.05%

25.15%

10YR Total (mkt avg)

$16,124.68

$9,119.73

$8,158.26

$3,240.14

$4,703.66

20.09%

29.17%

49.26%










12/31/2018 Prelim.

$21,033

$293.99

$240.31

$119.81

$222.98

2.17%

3.83%

6.00%

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%

12/30/2014

$18,245

$237.14

$202.31

$92.80

$132.63

1.92%

3.03%

4.95%

 

S&P Dow Jones Indices








S&P 500 SECTOR BUYBACKS








SECTOR $ MILLIONS

Q4,'18

Q3,'18

Q4,'17

2018

2017

5-YEARS

10-YEARS









Consumer Discretionary

$25,652

$19,688

$20,775

$86,674

$83,570

$433,558

$699,466

Consumer Staples

$9,588

$10,025

$10,490

$33,449

$50,832

$214,958

$431,037

Energy

$8,698

$7,330

$5,203

$30,427

$12,736

$105,104

$268,424

Financials

$45,641

$40,643

$33,903

$150,054

$124,467

$548,839

$735,105

Healthcare

$31,336

$14,482

$15,814

$108,692

$64,982

$391,651

$651,162

Industrials

$23,026

$15,159

$11,561

$78,239

$53,560

$354,796

$511,604

Information Technology

$61,298

$82,293

$35,817

$278,526

$118,848

$821,862

$1,221,998

Materials

$5,857

$3,014

$2,067

$14,391

$5,857

$72,344

$101,473

Real Estate

$1,480

$520

$1,314

$3,768

$3,844

$8,371

$8,371

Communication Services

$9,556

$10,092

$9

$20,237

$485

$29,740

$58,762

Utilities

$850

$509

$17

$1,952

$216

$6,400

$16,259

TOTAL

$222,980

$203,756

$136,969

$806,408

$519,397

$2,987,621

$4,703,661

 

S&P Dow Jones Indices








S&P 500 20 LARGEST Q4 2018 BUYBACKS, $ MILLIONS 







Company  

Ticker

Sector

Q4 2018

2018

2017

5-Year

10-Year

Indicated




Buybacks

Buybacks

Buybacks

Buybacks

Buybacks

Dividend




$ Million

$ Million

$ Million

$ Million

$ Million

$ Million

Apple 

AAPL

Information Technology

$10,114

$74,246

$34,427

$228,961

$260,449

$13,769

Oracle 

ORCL

Information Technology

$9,995

$29,306

$3,975

$58,680

$88,482

$3,445

Wells Fargo

WFC

Financials

$7,308

$20,964

$10,301

$57,986

$71,610

$8,189

Microsoft 

MSFT

Information Technology

$6,413

$16,300

$8,405

$66,093

$118,506

$14,117

Merck

MRK

Health Care

$5,933

$9,091

$4,014

$28,428

$43,774

$5,679

JPMorgan

JPM

Financials

$5,928

$19,983

$15,410

$54,851

$73,155

$10,478

Bank of America 

BAC

Financials

$5,231

$20,094

$12,814

$42,069

$45,307

$5,795

Cisco Systems

CSCO

Information Technology

$5,182

$22,936

$7,771

$46,276

$81,820

$6,163

Starbucks 

SBUX

Consumer Discretionary

$5,170

$10,709

$3,306

$18,828

$21,114

$1,791

Pfizer

PFE

Health Care

$5,030

$12,198

$5,000

$32,035

$64,476

$7,995

Home Depot

HD

Consumer Discretionary

$4,445

$9,963

$8,000

$38,843

$57,619

$6,145

Citigroup

C

Financials

$4,206

$14,533

$14,946

$46,705

$50,090

$4,233

Facebook

FB

Communication Services

$4,045

$16,087

$5,222

$21,388

$25,140

$0

Johnson & Johnson

JNJ

Health Care

$3,808

$5,868

$6,358

$33,697

$62,014

$9,587

Broadcom 

AVGO

Information Technology

$3,513

$10,771

$0

$10,771

$11,090

$4,199

Walmart

WMT

Consumer Staples

$3,249

$7,410

$8,296

$29,131

$68,413

$6,159

Alphabet

GOOG/L

Communication Services

$2,650

$9,075

$4,846

$19,394

$20,312

$0

Visa

V

Information Technology

$2,494

$7,914

$6,880

$30,050

$56,589

$1,750

Amgen 

AMGN

Health Care

$2,250

$17,920

$3,351

$26,902

$49,944

$3,609

Internat'l Bus Machines 

IBM

Information Technology

$2,073

$4,614

$4,533

$28,206

$98,936

$5,588

Top 20   



$99,037

$339,982

$167,855

$919,294

$1,368,840

$118,690

S&P 500



$222,980

$806,408

$519,397

$2,987,621

$4,703,661

$490,570

Top 20 % of S&P 500



44.42%

42.16%

32.32%

30.77%

29.10%

24.19%

   Gross values are not adjusted for float







   

S&P Dow Jones Indices



S&P 500 20 Largest Quarterly Buybacks, $ Millions, as of Q4 2018 with 1 added

$ MILLIONS

QUARTER

COMPANY

SECTOR


$22,756

Q1 2018

Apple

Information Technology

1

$21,860

Q2 2018

Apple

Information Technology

2

$21,162

Q3 2018

QUALCOMM

Information Technology

3

$20,783

Q2 2018

Apple

Information Technology

4

$19,364

Q3 2018

Apple

Information Technology

5

$17,971

Q1 2014

Apple

Information Technology

6

$17,000

Q3 2014

Apple

Information Technology

7

$16,000

Q2 2013

Apple

Information Technology

8

$15,707

Q2 2007

Internat'l Bus Machines 

Information Technology

9

$13,253

Q3 2015

Apple

Information Technology

10

$12,852

Q2 2012

Johnson & Johnson 

Healthcare

11

$12,318

Q4 2016

Allergan plc (AGN)

Healthcare

12

$12,183

Q3 2012

Johnson & Johnson 

Healthcare

13

$10,851

Q4 2016

Apple

Information Technology

14

$10,723

Q3 2007

Home Depot

Consumer Discretionary

15

$10,697

Q1 2018

Amgen 

Healthcare

16

$10,346

Q3 2018

Oracle

Information Technology

17

$10,166

Q2 2016

Apple

Information Technology

18

$10,114

Q4 2018

Apple

Information Technology

19

$10,095

Q4 2017

Apple

Information Technology

20

 

S&P Dow Jones Indices





S&P 500 Q4 2018 Buyback Report









SECTOR

DIVIDEND

BUYBACK 

COMBINED



YIELD

YIELD

YIELD


Consumer Discretionary

1.32%

3.14%

4.46%


Consumer Staples

2.96%

1.85%

4.80%


Energy

3.32%

2.30%

5.63%


Financials

2.32%

4.94%

7.26%


HealthCare

1.72%

3.07%

4.79%


Industrials

1.98%

3.41%

5.38%


Information Technology

1.55%

5.27%

6.83%


Materials

2.22%

2.40%

4.63%


Real Estate

3.31%

0.53%

3.84%


Communications Services

1.73%

2.03%

3.75%


Utilities

3.40%

0.20%

3.61%


S&P 500

2.05%

3.40%

5.45%


   Uses full values (unadjusted for float)




   Dividends based on indicated; buybacks based on the last 12-months ending Q4'18

 

Share Count Reduction (SCR)

SCR 

SCR

(Y/Y diluted shares used for EPS)

>=4%

<=-4%

Q4 2018

8.48%

18.79%

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%


ABOUT S&P DOW JONES INDICES

S&P Dow Jones Indices is the largest global resource for essential index-based concepts, data and research, and home to iconic financial market indicators, such as the S&P 500® and the Dow Jones Industrial Average®. More assets are invested in products based on our indices than products based on indices from any other provider in the world. Since Charles Dow invented the first index in 1884, S&P DJI has been innovating and developing indices across the spectrum of asset classes helping to define the way investors measure and trade the markets.

S&P Dow Jones Indices is a division of S&P Global (SPGI), which provides essential intelligence for individuals, companies, and governments to make decisions with confidence. For more information, visit: www.spdji.com.

S&P DJI MEDIA CONTACT:
Ray McConville, Communications Manager – Americas
(+1) 212 438 1678 raymond.mcconville@spglobal.com

INDEX INVESTMENT STRATEGY:
Howard Silverblatt, Senior Index Analyst
(+1) 212 438 3916 howard.silverblatt@spglobal.com 

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