Where would the market be without share buybacks?

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The decline in equity markets seen in the last few months would have been worse without the countervailing effect of buybacks. But by how much?

Share buybacks are an enduring part of market practice. Warren Buffett loves them. And the numbers are huge. For example, the aggregate annual figure spent on buybacks by S&P 500 companies is approaching a rate of $1 trillion, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices.

Yet despite numerous headlines suggesting that the buybacks have been propping up the market, it isn’t clear is how much of an impact these buybacks have had on share prices. Or to express this as a counterfactual, where would the market be without buybacks? Risky Finance has conducted some analysis to shed light on this.

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