Jun 19, 2019

More spent on S&P 500 buybacks than all 2018 R&D

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Expand chart
Data: S&P Global, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; Chart: Axios Visuals

Total research and development spending in the U.S. last year totaled $608 billion, according to data from the Federal Reserve, while corporations in the S&P 500 spent $806 billion buying back their own stock. The total for all companies was well over $1 trillion.

What it means: In 2018, the 500 biggest U.S. companies spent 33% more on their stock buyback programs than the country is investing in research and development.

  • The trend looks to be continuing this year as the U.S. is on pace to spend $642 billion on R&D in 2019 and poised to surpass last year's $1.085 trillion total in buyback spending.

Go deeper: The S&P 500's Q1 earnings were a pleasant surprise

Go deeper

How the U.S. might distribute a coronavirus vaccine

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Now that there are glimmers of hope for a coronavirus vaccine, governments, NGOs and others are hashing out plans for how vaccines could be distributed once they are available — and deciding who will get them first.

Why it matters: Potential game-changer vaccines will be sought after by everyone from global powers to local providers. After securing supplies, part of America's plan is to tap into its military know-how to distribute those COVID-19 vaccines.

Amazon is gaining on shipping giants

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Amazon is emerging as a transportation juggernaut that could threaten carmakers, package delivery firms and even ride-hailing companies.

Why it matters: By building its own logistics ecosystem and investing in promising electric and autonomous vehicle startups, Amazon could lower its shipping costs to the point that partners like UPS become competitors instead.

Updated 26 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5 a.m. ET: 5,816,706 — Total deaths: 360,437 — Total recoveries — 2,420,358Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 5 a.m. ET: 1,721,926 — Total deaths: 101,617 — Total recoveries: 399,991 — Total tested: 15,646,041Map.
  3. Public health: The mystery of superspreaders.
  4. Congress: Pelosi slams McConnell on stimulus delay — Sen. Tim Kaine and wife test positive for coronavirus antibodies.
  5. World: Twitter slapped a fact-check label on a pair of months-old tweets from a Chinese government spokesperson that falsely suggested that the coronavirus originated in the U.S.
  6. 2020: The RNC has issued their proposed safety guidelines for its planned convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.
  7. What should I do? When you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus — Traveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.