Happy Friday! There are more good news articles, commentaries, and analyst reports on the Web every week than anyone could read in a month. Here are eight fascinating ones I read this week.
Companies are now buying back a record amount of their own stock, writes Birinyi Associates. This is typically a bad sign, as companies have an abysmal history of timing buybacks. Enjoy it while it lasts:
We recorded $117.8 billion in buyback authorizations during the month of February, representing a 103% gain over the same period in 2012 ($118 bln vs. $68 bln). February was the largest month, in dollar terms, on record.
We are currently on a run-rate to log $827 bln of authorizations in 2013 vs $477 bln in 2012. 2007 was the only year in our database where we recorded more ($863 bln).
Good news if you’re worried about the budget
The decline in health care cost growth appears to be alive and well, writes The Wall Street Journal:
The latest numbers from St. Louis-based Express Scripts Holding Company (NASDAQ:ESRX) show that the pharmacy-benefit company saw spending on traditional drugs among commercially insured members slip 1.5% last year — the first-ever decline in two decades of tracking data.
The U.S. will continue to dominate oil
As a result of America’s ongoing oil boom, the U.S. overtook Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest oil-producer in November. The International Energy Agency predicts that this will be true on an annual basis within a decade (via the American Enterprise Institute):