According to Silverblatt, fourth quarter 2007 buyback activity was strong, posting an estimated $142 billion in share repurchases. The quarterly value represented a 34.7% increase over the fourth quarter of 2006 and ranks as the third largest expenditure of all-time, behind the $172 billion spent during third quarter of 2007, and the $158 billion spent during the second quarter of that same year (2007).
On a sector basis, Standard & Poor's notes the shift in sector buyback participation. "Financial issues continue to pull back on buybacks, accounting for just 13.4% of the aggregate repurchases during the fourth quarter of 2007 compared to 22.3% during the fourth quarter of 2006," adds Silverblatt. "Information Technology remained the prime player in the buyback market, with 22.5% of the buybacks, partially due to their use of options to supplement employee salaries."
Over the past thirteen quarters, since the buyback boom began (Q4 2004), S&P 500 issues have spent approximately $1.44 trillion on stock buybacks compared to $1.56 trillion on Capital Expenditures and $721 billion on dividends.