The Timing of Actual Share Repurchases
60 Pages Posted: 9 May 2014 Last revised: 17 Jun 2014
Date Written: June 11, 2014
Numerous studies document that firms buy back below average market prices. I model two hypotheses explaining the timing of actual share repurchases and test their predictions using a unique data set for the U.S. for the period 2004-2010. The market-timing hypothesis postulates that firms anticipate returns and thus buy back before stock price increases. The contrarian-trading hypothesis proposes that firms buy back more at lower stock prices simply because repurchases are negatively related to realized returns. While contrarian-trading firms have no timing ability ex-ante, their trading behavior generates empirical patterns suggesting ex-post that firms are able to buy back below average market prices. The empirical finding that firms buy back shares below average market prices can be entirely explained by contrarian-trading. Actual share repurchases are not followed by positive abnormal returns.
Keywords: actual share repurchases, managerial timing, long-run performance, repurchase costs, buyback anomaly
JEL Classification: G14, G30, G32, G35
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation