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Expand chart
Data: S&P Global; Chart: Harry Stevens/Axios

Apple again led S&P 500 companies in buybacks, spending a new record $23.8 billion in Q1, more than doubling its spend from the previous quarter, data from S&P Global shows.

Context: Apple has long been a buyback behemoth. The company holds 8 of the 10 all-time records for quarterly buybacks, and has spent more than $75 billion on buybacks over just the past year.

  • It has spent $234.7 billion over the most recent 5-year period, and $284.3 billion over the last 10-year period.
  • Apple accounted for 23% of share buybacks made by the top 20 S&P 500 companies.

The big picture: While Apple has increased its buyback spending, other S&P 500 companies have slowed from 2018's record pace.

  • Companies bought back just $205.8 billion worth of their own shares, a 7.7% decline from Q4 2018, S&P reported. That ended the streak of 4 consecutive quarters of record buybacks.

Yes, but: Buybacks rose 8.9% from Q1 2018, which set a record at the time.

  • Outside analysis of the broader stock market, beyond just the S&P, shows announced buyback spending was higher in Q1 2019 than Q4 2018.

What they're saying: Ratings agency Moody's warned last month that companies are spending more on share buybacks and dividends than they were paying in taxes before the 2017 tax cut. The tax savings "can be wiped out entirely by even a modest change in share buybacks," Christina Padgett, senior vice president at Moody's, told Axios at the time.

  • S&P 500 companies, at least, may be heeding the warning.

Go deeper: Apple needs a next act

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
6 mins ago - Economy & Business

The mobile gaming gold rush

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Electronic Arts this morning announced that it will pay $1.4 billion to buy Playdemic, a mobile gaming studio whose titles include "Golf Clash," from Warner Bros.

Why it matters: This comes just months after EA paid $2.1 billion to buy Glu Mobile. It also resolves talk that not all of WB Games would get included in the Discovery merger.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Warren Buffett resigns from Gates Foundation board

Buffett and Bill Gates in 2015. Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation — the second-largest philanthropy in the world — is now governed by just two trustees, after Warren Buffett announced on Wednesday that he had resigned his position there.

Why it matters: The two remaining trustees, Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates, are going through a divorce.

Updated 2 hours ago - World

U.K. denies Russia fired warning shots at destroyer in Black Sea

The HMS Defender in the port of Odessa on Ukraine's Black Sea coast on June 18. Photo: Konstantin Sazonchik\TASS via Getty Images

Russia's defense ministry claimed Wednesday that a Russian warship and fighter jet fired "warning" shots at the British Royal Navy’s HMS Defender destroyer for encroaching on waters near Crimea in the Black Sea.

The latest: The U.K.'s ministry of defense disputed that any warning shots were fired, saying in a statement, "We believe the Russians were undertaking a gunnery exercise in the Black Sea and provided the maritime community with prior-warning of their activity."