Stock Options Don’t Exercise Themselves

Despite profits cratering like a Boeing 737 MAX with an Indonesian pilot, the captains of industry in the United States are continuing their stock buy-backs unabated.

This is not about preserving shareholder value, this is about keeping those executives stock options above water.  It is corrupt, and arguably fraud:

Corporate America is finding it hard to kick the share buyback habit, even after the US slipped into its worst recession in decades.

Total buybacks are expected to drop this year as the downturn caused by coronavirus saps corporate profits, prompting many US blue-chips to suspend or cut back share repurchases. Yet companies in the S&P 500 that have reported second-quarter earnings so far have reduced the number of their outstanding shares by an average of 0.3 per cent from the previous quarter, according to calculations from Credit Suisse.

Updates showed that some of the largest US multinationals continued to buy back their own stock or even accelerated stock repurchases.


David Lebovitz, global market strategist for JPMorgan Asset Management, noted that the buybacks were “not happening everywhere”, but were “driven by specific sectors and stocks”. He added that financial and materials companies were potentially more willing to engage in buybacks through the downturn, because their stocks have not advanced as much as companies in other sectors since the lows in March.

Mr. Lebovitz is lying, and he knows it.

This is about executives boosting their own bottom line, not the company’s.

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