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Posted by: Howard Silverblatt on October 8, 2008

The current price vs the employee option strike price is critical to the base buyback purchases. With prices falling so quickly, options in the money are dwindling, so buybacks may be cut back further. Many (of the reported) average strike prices expiring this year are near their current price. The situation speaks more to Q4 and January (taxes), but reduced need in Q3 should also take its toll.

Also, i will be looking for issues that use existing shares (treasury) to satisfy options, therefore netting positive cash-flow from the event and avoiding the buyback expense and not having to go to the market for additional cash (getting money under the radar).

FYI - the full impact of the dividends cuts will be felt in Q4. I expect a strong single-digit decline (Q4,’08 vs. Q4,’07); last such decline was Q2 2003 at -1.54%, if more decreases materialize we could see a double-digit decline, last seen in Q3 1958 at -24.4%.

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Bloomberg Businessweek’s Ben Steverman focuses on the latest moves in financial markets and emerging trends in stocks, bonds, and funds, always with an eye toward giving readers a better understanding of the sometimes confusing and often chaotic world of money. Standard & Poor’s senior index analyst Howard Silverblatt will also provide his take on companies’ finances and the markets. Voted one of the “Top 100 Finance Blogs” in 2007.

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