Buybacks among S&P 500 Index members hit a record in the first quarter and more than a third of the index raised dividend payments.

Key Points

  1. At $1.6 trillion, cash and cash equivalent stayed near all-time highs
  2. Share purchases surged 34 percent to a record $178 billion, surpassing the previous peak of $172 billion reached in 2007
  3. Tech companies accounted for about a third of total buybacks, with repurchases more than doubling from a year earlier. Apple set a record with $22.8 billion
  4. Financial firms spent roughly the same as last year, a sign that Fed approved buybacks may have been fulfilled
  5. No company cut its dividend for the first time in at least 15 years. Among those that raised payouts, the increase averaged 10 percent
  6. Capital expenditures are up 21% as well to $159 billion.

In regards to point number one, most of that cash is actually debt.

Point number two is interesting. Here we go again?

Capital expenditures are up 21% but how much of that was planned anyway? It is doubtful Trump tax cuts played a major role in expenditures.

Question of the day: Is this what it takes to hold the stock market flat?

Mike "Mish" Shedlock