With shares being hammered by a tumultuous market, it's stock buyback time in the Southeast.
Since Aug. 3, when the market began tumbling, 72 firms in the region have said they plan to buy back $2.8 billion of stock, according to CommScan, a New York securities-research firm. The theory is simple enough: The companies feel their shares are undervalued and that the best use of their cash is to buy them back. Such action automatically increases per-share earnings because there are fewer shares outstanding by which to divide net income. And higher per-share earnings can boost a company's sagging stock price.