Apple’s recent buybacks brought highest 4-month returns of any company since 1998

Data from Bloomberg today shows just how profitable Apple’s recent buybacks have been with the company experiencing the highest returns of any company in over a decade. The buybacks, which were also the biggest ever since Bloomberg and S&P started tracking these numbers, came as Apple stock increased 77 percent over the last 15 months and 25 percent since its $18 billion buyback last year:

Those are the highest four-month returns among the 20 biggest quarterly repurchases by any company since 1998, according to data compiled by Bloomberg and Standard & Poor’s. S&P 500 constituents have spent $211 billion on their own stock this year amid concern the five-year bull market is prone to selloffs such as last week’s 2.7 percent retreat.

The report notes that other companies have been less successful with Microsoft experiencing a 16 percent increase in 2014 following its $3 billion buyback, while others including EBay and Boeing experienced shares falling. The average for the 100 largest buybacks being tracked by Bloomberg is a 5.5 percent increase this year.

Bloomberg adds that “the ratio of Apple’s per-share profit growth to its overall earnings has increased due to buybacks.” That includes an increase of 19.6 percent year-over-year as of last quarter compared to an increase in net income of 12.3 percent.