S&P 500 companies returned a record $1.263 trillion to shareholders last year, according to data published Monday by S&P Dow Jones Indices.The amount is +37% higher compared to 2017. In that, share buybacks accounted for a record $806.4 billion.
Dividend payments over the fourth quarter came in at a record $119.8 billion, +3.5% higher from the three months ending in October. Share buybacks during the quarter were a record $223 billion.
For the full year 2018, Technology sector contributed to nearly a third (and the largest slice) of the S&P 500 buybacks at a total of $278.5 billion. Leading the pack was Apple which repurchased stock worth $74.2 billion.
Heatlhcare occupied the second spot for buybacks at $108.7 billion for the year, followed by Consumer Discretionary at $86.7 billion and Consumer Staples at $33.4 billion.