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Canceled Stock Buybacks Mount, and They May Not Return for Years

  • Shell, Best Buy shelve repurchases as pandemic hits earnings
  • Government aid to business to come with buyback restrictions

However the coronavirus ends up playing out in markets and the economy, the rejection of stock buybacks is beginning to seem like a consequence that will outlive the immediate crisis.

Companies repurchasing their shares served as a reliable prop under the stock market every time there was a dip during the 11-year bull run that just ended. Now the likes of Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Coca-Cola European Partners Plc and retailer Best Buy Co. have joined the list of those halting share buybacks as stockpiling cash becomes the priority.