Special Report

5 Companies Buying Back the Most Stock in 2016

McDonald's
Source: Wikimedia Commons

5. McDonald’s

Thought McDonald’s Corp. (NASDAQ: MCD) spent $4.312 billion in the first quarter of 2016, it spent a total of $9.805 billion in the trailing 12 months. As a reminder, McDonald’s borrowed money to boost its buyback and dividend, even at the cost of a credit downgrade.

At the close of $120.62, McDonald’s has a market cap of $106 billion. Its consensus price target is $132.00, and the 52-week range is $87.50 to $131.96. The dividend yield is 2.9%.

Pfizer logo
Source: Wikimedia Commons

4. Pfizer

Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) may not be able to move overseas like it once wanted to, and its shares may be looking for direction. The drug giant spent $5.0 billion buying stock in the first quarter, and a total of $5.16 billion for the trailing 12 months. That $5 billion was an accelerated repurchase plan, but Pfizer is now over $60 billion deep in buyback spending over the trailing 10 years.

Pfizer closed at $34.48, with a market cap of $209 billion. Its consensus price target is $38.62. The 52-week range is $28.25 to $36.46, and the current dividend yield is 3.5%.

General Electric Logo
Source: Wikimedia Commons

3. GE

As General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) wants to get down to 8 billion shares or so, it likely will continue on its buyback warpath. GE spent $6.326 billion in the first quarter and had spent $8.06 billion total in the trailing 12 months. GE also keeps paring down financial assets, and that cash is being used to shrink its float. GE has now spent over $54 billion over 10 years on buybacks. Again, it is likely to remain aggressive.

Shares of GE closed at $30.80, within a 52-week range of $19.37 to $32.05. The consensus price target is $32.53. The market cap is roughly $283 billion, and the dividend yield is 3.0%.

Apple Logo
Source: Wikimedia Commons

2. Apple

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) may be on the way to being the largest share buyback player of all-time, but maybe that is to be expected for the company that has shared the title of the “largest market cap in the world” and with a sub-market price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio and cheap access to capital. Apple’s buyback tab was $6.667 billion during the first quarter of 2016, but it was $36.783 billion for the trailing 12 months. Apple has now spent $116 billion in five years buying its stock.

Apple closed at $95.55, with a market cap of $523 billion. Its consensus price target is $124.79, and it has a 52-week range of $89.47 to $132.97. The dividend yield is 2.4%.

Gilead Sciences logo
Source: Wikimedia Commons

1. Gilead Sciences

In the first quarter of 2016, Gilead Sciences Inc. (NASDAQ: GILD) spent $8.000 billion on buybacks, for a total of $14.101 billion in the trailing 12-month period. This was part of a $12 billion buyback plan, which was meant to follow the completion of the previous $15 billion authorized share buyback plan. Is it ironic that the world’s largest biotech outfit is outspending the largest drug companies on buybacks?

Gilead shares closed most recently at $82.45, with a market cap of $110 billion. The consensus analyst price target is $110.89, and the stock has a 52-week trading range of $81.28 to $123.37. The dividend yield is 2.3%.