Do stock buybacks constitute a ‘license to loot

By Proinsias O’Mahony

“US companies, flush with cash following Donald Trump’s corporate tax cuts, spent a record $930 billion on stock buybacks last year: a similar outlay is expected in 2019.

Buybacks have returned $5 trillion to shareholders since 2009, supporting the 10-year bull market, but opinion is split on this increasingly controversial practice. Critics, including some of America’s most prominent politicians, say buybacks are economically destructive and must be reined in; defenders say criticism is misplaced and scoff that opponents are guilty of “buyback derangement syndrome”, as one hedge fund manager put it.”…

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