In the past seven years, Home Depot (NYSE: HD) has bought back a whopping 600 million shares. That's really impressive until you realize many of the shares were bought back right when the stock was trading at a 52-week high.
Sadly, this example applies to many companies right now.
I've been looking at all of the companies that have announced buyback plans in the past two months, and most of the stocks in question are trading near their 52-week highs. Considering that the S&P 500 has more than doubled in the past three years, companies are conducting major buybacks because they have too much cash, and not because their shares are necessarily bargains.
However, I have found 10 companies with fresh recent buyback plans, all of which trade at least 20% from the 52-week high. In these instances, the companies are in a position to make their buyback dollars go a lot further. Take a look...
It's interesting to spot a pair of names in the for-profit education sector. This whole industry has been rife with crisis, as high student loan default rates led Congress to scrutinize lending practices more closely. This should create a healthier industry as schools become more focused on accepting the best candidates and better track their loan repayment performance.