Dividend Issuance/Share Buybacks – Post-Financial Crisis
Companies may have to fend for themselves considering the gradually bleak in stock market returns. In 2016, retail investors have been bailing on stocks and pulling money from the domestic equity funds each week due to which the S&P 500 was down by 8% year till date before the market plunge on Monday.
This was a bad indication for a market that historically takes its full year hint from how it transpired earlier and companies seemed to be willing to step into the emptiness. Dividend issuance together with share buybacks were the major tailwind for the post-financial crisis bull market that would turn 7 years old in a month had it had managed to hang on through the present volatility.
Short historical valuations accompanied with cheap money had given rise to pushing companies to return trillions to the investors. Due to the blackout period over for buyback declarations, Wall Street is hoping for big things. Chief U.S. equity strategist at Goldman Sach, David Kostin, had mentioned in a note his team had sent to client recently, that early indication are that 2016 buybacks are `on pace to be one of the fastest starts on record’.
Companies Expressed Continued Commitment to Buybacks
So far the total announcement was $63 billion scarcely a month into the year, with Kostin considering that it is just the beginning. He comments that companies have usually expressed a continued commitment to buybacks, aware that the market weakness could be a reason for increase instead of narrowing their purchases.
In 2015, buybacks had amounted to $724 billion, a year which had ranked second only to 2007 in total volume as per market data research firm TrimTabs. The year set a second record for several corporate money, utilised for buybacks as well cash takeovers at $1.41 trillion.A comparison with 2007 would not essentially promise well for the market taking into consideration that was the year wherein the house-led bull market started to crash.
However, the conditions of the market were different, where optimism was running high and equity allocations almost at 70% in 2007. Investors were cautious of the stock market with Goldman’s indicator putting sentiment at 2 on a scale of 1 to 100. Kostin had informed that it indicates a likely market rise of 4% in the following month depending on corporate buyers filling the void left by retail investors.
Management Optimism Important to Market
He further added that management optimism was important to the market since corporates tend to represent the main source of demand for U.S. equities beyond the present environment and the increase in buyback activity after 4Q earning season usually matches with the out performance of large stocks of buyback.
Classifying single companies, he said tend to poise for significant buybacks comprising of Gilead Sciences that specified $12 billion and 3M with $10 billion. Besides this, GE is composed for a hugs cash deployment for an unspecified mix of buybacks as well as dividends.
On the other hand Apple, Microsoft and Qualcomm too have substantial cash on hand to give on buybacks. Though the flow in buybacks has matched the sharp run-up in stock prices, investing money especially towards companies which tend to use their cash in that way has faced mixed success.