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Like many other large companies, Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM is on a buyback binge. It has spent $80 billion on its own stock since 1995. By taking shares out of circulation, the move increases the company's earnings per share and gives IBM more shares it can dole out in stock options.
In April, largely to please investors tired of IBM's so-so stock performance, the company's board authorized $15 billion in new repurchases — two and a half times what IBM spends annually on research and development. Recently IBM has been spending about $100 million a day buying its own shares on the open market.