capital returned to their shareholders.
As a reminder, many buybacks do not reduce the total share count on a 1:1 basis through time. Companies issue stock options and give restricted stock grants, or they use treasury shares to make acquisitions — all of which can offset or minimise the raw number of shares being repurchased against the float. Still, you will see that companies have to now make announcements of $20 bln or so to make the top buybacks of all-time in the year and years ahead. As a reminder, April is the beginning of corporate earnings season for the first quarter of 2015. This means that the buyback count is certain to grow even further.