CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 79% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
US English

Stock buybacks reach a record $234bn in Q3

By Robert Davis


Stock buyback market ticker price board
Stock buybacks reach a record - Photo: Shutterstock

Stock buybacks reached an all-time high of $234.6bn (£177.06bn) in the third quarter of this year, according to preliminary data released by the S&P Dow Jones Indices on Tuesday.

That total is 5% above the previous record high set in the fourth quarter of 2018 at $223.4bn, S&P Global said. It also represents an 18% increase from Q2 2021 and a 130% increase on an annualised basis.

“While companies bought back shares in record numbers in Q3 2021, their expenditures appear cautious when measured against their earnings and market value," Howard Silverblatt, Senior Index Analyst at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said in a statement. “Additionally, the impact on share count remains significantly lower compared to previous years as higher stock prices have reduced the number of shares companies can buy back with their current expenditures.”

Buyback details

According to S&P Global’s data, 309 companies reported buybacks of at least $5m during Q3 2021 while another 371 approved buyback plans.

Most of the buybacks occurred in the information technology sector, the data shows. For the 12-month period ending in September, the sector represented 32.5% of all buybacks.

Companies such as Apple (AAPL) and Alphabet (A) dominated stock buybacks during the quarter. Apple bought more than $20bn of its stock, marking the eighth-highest quarterly total that S&P Global has recorded.

Alphabet purchases $15.1bn

Meanwhile, Alphabet purchased $15.1bn of its stock, nearly doubling its total spending from a quarter ago.


475.08 Price
+2.100% 1D Chg, %
Long position overnight fee -0.0262%
Short position overnight fee 0.0040%
Overnight fee time 22:00 (UTC)
Spread 0.14


6.49 Price
-1.530% 1D Chg, %
Long position overnight fee -0.0262%
Short position overnight fee 0.0040%
Overnight fee time 22:00 (UTC)
Spread 0.04


15.56 Price
-4.230% 1D Chg, %
Long position overnight fee -0.0262%
Short position overnight fee 0.0040%
Overnight fee time 22:00 (UTC)
Spread 0.16


147.43 Price
+8.350% 1D Chg, %
Long position overnight fee -0.0262%
Short position overnight fee 0.0040%
Overnight fee time 22:00 (UTC)
Spread 0.54

Financial services companies spent the second-highest total on stock buybacks during the quarter with total spending of $69.1bn. In comparison, the sector spent a little over $40bn on stock buybacks last quarter.

One sector that decreased its buybacks was consumer staples. Spending on buybacks in that sector declined by 8.9% to $16.2bn during Q3, S&P Global said.


Looking ahead to next quarter, Silverblatt expects company expenditures to increase despite the uneven road ahead.

The Securities and Exchange Commission recently proposed new rules to increase transparency surrounding stock buybacks, but the impact of the rules remains to be seen.

“At this point, a slight market downturn or correction could also see additional buying, as companies with strong (and expected strong) cash-flow stock up on shares,” Silverblatt said.

Read more: Alphabet reports record profit and bn share buyback

Rate this article

The difference between trading assets and CFDs
The main difference between CFD trading and trading assets, such as commodities and stocks, is that you don’t own the underlying asset when you trade on a CFD.
You can still benefit if the market moves in your favour, or make a loss if it moves against you. However, with traditional trading you enter a contract to exchange the legal ownership of the individual shares or the commodities for money, and you own this until you sell it again.
CFDs are leveraged products, which means that you only need to deposit a percentage of the full value of the CFD trade in order to open a position. But with traditional trading, you buy the assets for the full amount. In the UK, there is no stamp duty on CFD trading, but there is when you buy stocks, for example.
CFDs attract overnight costs to hold the trades (unless you use 1-1 leverage), which makes them more suited to short-term trading opportunities. Stocks and commodities are more normally bought and held for longer. You might also pay a broker commission or fees when buying and selling assets direct and you’d need somewhere to store them safely.
Capital Com is an execution-only service provider. The material provided on this website is for information purposes only and should not be understood as an investment advice. Any opinion that may be provided on this page does not constitute a recommendation by Capital Com or its agents. We do not make any representations or warranty on the accuracy or completeness of the information that is provided on this page. If you rely on the information on this page then you do so entirely on your own risk.

Still looking for a broker you can trust?

Join the 570.000+ traders worldwide that chose to trade with

1. Create & verify your account 2. Make your first deposit 3. You’re all set. Start trading