Over the last 20 years, U.S. companies have increasingly stepped up their use of stock repurchase programs, and according to a recent Goldman Sachs report, 85% of companies in the S&P 500 Index now routinely buy back their own stock.

Common wisdom is that these stock buyback programs are a good thing for investors. Even the renowned Warren Buffett ? one of the most skillful investors of modern times ? has talked publicly about how happy he is that one of the company in which he is invested ? IBM ? is undertaking a massive buyback program.

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