Stock buybacks are generally considered a bullish signal on Wall Street. They return capital to shareholders, while declaring management's belief that its own cheap shares are its best return on investment. As long as profits remain consistent, share repurchases can even increase earnings per share, by dividing the same amount of earnings among a smaller pool of shares outstanding.
Today, we'll find a few companies that announced new or expanded stock buyback programs, then consult Motley Fool CAPS to see which of those firms the 180,000-strong investor community favors most. If CAPS' top investors endorse the prospects of companies announcing buybacks, maybe Fools should take notice.
Here are two of the latest companies to announce share repurchase programs over the last month:
CAPS Rating (out of 5)
New or Expanded?
But don't forget, Fools -- a company isn't obligated to repurchase shares just because it announced its intention to do so. So don't use this list as a reason to buy by itself; rather, use it as a launching pad for additional research.
Dialing back growth
By initiating a share repurchase authorization program approved in December of 2010, investors are rightly asking, "Is Ma Bell running out of arrows in her quiver?" AT&T missed analyst expectations for earnings, even after stripping out some fairly massive charges for pensions and its failed merger with T-Mobile, because it continues to heavily subsidize sales of Apple's
The quarter also prominently featured the FCC blocking its takeover of T-Mobile, which leaves the carrier having to try to buy up spectrum in smaller deals than in such large blocs. That and share buybacks are the dwindling options AT&T has available to it to boost shareholder value in the near term.
CAPS member badducky dismisses such concerns, believing Ma Bell remains a leader in mobile communications, but tell us in the comments section below or on the AT&T CAPS page whether it will end up shooting itself in the foot. Next, add the carrier to your Watchlist to follow whether the buyback successfully boosts its efforts.
Stand and deliver
Online consumer shopping is threatening the very existence of big-box retailers like Best Buy, but cementing the viability of e-tailer Amazon.com in the pantheon of great businesses.
The online experience is also bolstering the prospects of the shipping companies that make Amazon's vaunted customer service possible. Both FedEx
With a slowing European economy and the U.S. markets expected to grow at a lesser pace than it did last year, 2012 might hold a few surprises yet in earnings. That said, the company seems to be on a better footing than it was just six months ago, and UPS's stock has jumped nearly 30% from lows it hit during the summer.
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