Microsoft, HP announce stock buybacks

Microsoft board approves plan for another $40 billion in share repurchase and raised its quarterly dividend by 18%; HP approves $8 billion stock repurchase.

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By Aaron Smith, staff writer

What should Congress do with the $700 billion proposal to take pressure off the credit markets?
  • Pass the legislation quickly
  • Pass it, but add stimulus and foreclosure relief
  • Reject it

NEW YORK ( -- Microsoft announced Monday that it was planning to buy back an additional $40 billion worth of shares and fellow tech giant HP followed with a proposal to repurchase $8 billion worth of stock.

Microsoft said its board of directors approved the $40 billion buyback plan, after having just completed its previous $40 billion stock repurchase program.

Also, Microsoft hiked its quarterly dividend by 18% to 13 cents per share, which translates into a 2-cent-per-share increase over the prior quarter. Based on this increased quarterly payout, Microsoft's stock now has a dividend yield of about 2.1%.

Microsoft (MSFT, Fortune 500) stock rose about 4% at the start of trading.

Separately, HP said its board of directors approved $8 billion worth of stock repurchases. This is in addition to $1.6 billion worth of shares that the company bought back in its fiscal third quarter.

HP (HPQ, Fortune 500) stock was flat at the open.

Art Hogan, chief market strategist for the investment bank Jefferies, said that any companies - and not just tech firms - with a lot of cash on hand are likely to consider buying back shares to increase their own value, given the recent turmoil on Wall Street.

"I think we're going to see a lot of buybacks, not just in the tech sector, but with a lot of other companies," said Hogan.

Along those lines, sneaker and athletic apparel maker Nike (NKE, Fortune 500) also announced a $5 billion buyback program on Monday morning.

Investors usually cheer stock buybacks because they reduce the number of shares a company has outstanding. That tends to lead to an increase in earnings per share. To top of page

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