Chevron’s decision this week to buy back $75 billion of its shares and hike its dividend sets the stage for one of the largest corporate buybacks in recent history.
It came after a big year for buybacks, which companies use to boost earnings per share (EPS). In the third quarter alone, S&P 500 companies bought back a record $210.8 billion, as some 319 firms reported at least $5 billion of repurchases. More than 20% of S&P 500 companies lifted their EPS by 4% in 2022 using this strategy, according to research from S&P Global, the highest share since the fourth quarter of 2019.
Chevron announced its program on Wednesday, two days before reporting earnings that missed Wall Street estimates. Shares of Chevron (CVX) were down 4% Friday on the news.
S&P 500 Companies with the Biggest Stock Buybacks
Below are five companies that have been among the most aggressive in buying back their stock last year:
Apple Inc. (AAPL)
Apple has been a longtime market leader in share repurchases, buying back $409.1 billion over the past five years—2.6 times more than any other company. Apple repurchased $24.7 billion of its shares in the third quarter of 2022, up from $20.4 billion in the previous year and outpacing any other company in the S&P 500.
Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL)
Alphabet, the parent company of Google, bought back $15.3 billion of shares in the third quarter after reporting net income of $13.9 billion. The tech firm repurchased $150 billion over the past five years.
Meta Platforms Inc. (META)
As its shares plunged last year, Meta Platforms bought $6.6 billion of its shares in the third quarter. The parent company of Facebook bought back $100 million over the past five years, trailing only Apple and Alphabet.
Microsoft Corp. (MSFT)
Microsoft bought back $5.5 billion in the third quarter, reaping the benefits of high revenue growth associated with the company’s cloud services business. Over the past five years, the company bought back $170 billion of shares, outpacing every company in the S&P 500 except for Apple.
ExxonMobil Corp. (XOM)
Energy giant ExxonMobil earned handsome profits last year, reaping the benefits of higher oil prices. Stock buybacks within the energy sector rose from a year earlier, with ExxonMobil in the lead. The company bought back $4.5 billion in the third quarter, becoming one of the top five companies by repurchase volume last year.