by: Jayson Derrick, Benzinga Staff Writer
What You Need To Know
Q3 marked another period of strong capital returns, as the 500 companies increased their combined share buyback activity by 7.5 percent from the second quarter and by 15.2 percent from the third quarter of 2016, S&P Dow Jones Indices said in a press release.
For the full-year period that ended in September 2017, the 500 companies spent a combined $517.7 billion on buybacks, which represents a decrease from $547 billion in the same period one year ago.
Why It's Important
Total shareholder return — the combination of share buybacks and dividends — rose 4.7 percent from the same period a year ago to $234.6 billion. Similarly, for the 12-month period that ended in September, total shareholder return fell 0.8 percent from the same period one year ago to $931.9 billion.
Here are the five companies that were most active in returning capital to shareholders during Q3:
- Apple Inc. AAPL 0.14%: $7.8 billion.
- Citigroup Inc C 0.11%: $5.4 billion.
- JPMorgan Chase & Co. JPM 0.24%: $4.8 billion.
- Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc WBA 0.89%: $3.8 billion.
- Charter Communications, Inc. CHTR 1.71%: $3.5 billion.
"Record-level cash reserves could reach shareholders, with the current belief being that buybacks would benefit more than dividends," Howard Silverblatt, a senior index analyst at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said in a statement. "Dividends are a pure cash-flow item and are considered longer-term events than buybacks; once increased, a dividend cut usually solicits a negative market reaction."
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