Bridge over ocean
1 July 2008 Financial Analysts Journal Volume 64, Issue 4

Stock Repurchases and the EPS Enhancement Fallacy

  1. Jacob Oded
  2. Allen Michel

A common belief among practitioners and academics is that the increased EPS associated with a stock repurchase creates value for a firm’s shareholders. This belief is flawed. With the use of a numerical example and an analysis of ExxonMobil’s recent stock repurchases, this article demonstrates the magnitude of the distortion that arises from using EPS to make such repurchase decisions. The effect of share repurchase is also compared with the effects of alternatives—payment of dividends and cash accumulation. Relative to cash accumulation, neither the negative effect of dividends nor the positive effect of repurchases on EPS is associated with changes in the wealth of shareholders at time zero.

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