Expand chart
Data: S&P 500; Chart: Harry Stevens/Axios

The stock market decline comes despite a record level of buybacks — more than $200 billion in the last quarter alone, up some 58% from a year ago.

Why it matters: It's a lot easier for companies to reduce buybacks than it is for them to reduce dividends. If and when earnings start to decline, it should be quite easy for buybacks to fall in tandem.

  • Buybacks are rising mainly because companies have been very cautious about raising their dividends. If you look at the level of dividends and buybacks combined, it tracks very closely with total corporate earnings, which have been growing impressively.
  • In 2007 and 2015, earnings fell below the amount that companies were spending on buybacks and dividends. That's no longer the case.

Go deeper

When U.S. politicians exploit foreign disinformation

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

U.S. political actors will keep weaponizing the impact of widespread foreign disinformation campaigns on American elections, making these operations that much more effective and attractive to Russia, China, Iran or other countries backing them.

Why it matters: Hostile powers’ disinformation campaigns aim to destabilize the U.S., and each time a domestic politician embraces them, it demonstrates that they work.

26 mins ago - Technology

Samsung debuts Note 20, new foldable smartphone

The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

Samsung unveiled its crop of new mobile devices Wednesday, including two versions of the Note 20 smartphone, an updated foldable device, two tablets and a watch.

Why it matters: The new devices aim to give Samsung an early start at the second half of the year, with products aimed at parents buying fresh gear for the back-to-homeschool season.

Joe Biden will no longer travel to Milwaukee for Democratic convention

Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Joe Biden will no longer be traveling to Milwaukee the week of Aug. 17 to accept his nomination in person at the Democratic National Convention due to COVID-19 concerns, the DNC announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: No planned speakers will travel to Milwaukee, meaning that the convention will be entirely virtual — unlike the hybrid event that the party had previously been planning. Biden will accept the nomination from his home state of Delaware.