How Big are Buybacks? Scary Big!

Broc recently blogged about SEC Commissioner Robert Jackson’s concerns that insiders were using buybacks as an opportunity to cash out. Well, it turns out that they aren’t alone – buybacks are providing a frightening amount of the overall demand for corporate equities. This excerpt from a recent Bloomberg article on the effects of a ban on corporate buybacks just blew me away: With political scrutiny of stock buybacks growing, Goldman Sachs started assessing an extreme scenario: “a world without buybacks.” The picture doesn’t look pretty. That’s because corporate demand has far exceeded that from all other investors combined, according to strategists led by David Kostin. Since 2010, net buybacks averaged $420 billion annually, while buying from households, mutual funds, pension funds and foreign investors was less than $10 billion for each, Federal Reserve data compiled by Goldman showed. The article says that corporate repurchases…

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