Johnson & Johnson Sets $10 Billion Stock Buyback Program

By Tomi KilgoreMarketWatch Pulse

Johnson & Johnson's stock gained 1% in early premarket trade Tuesday, after the health care and consumer products company said it approved a $10 billion share repurchase program. The announcement comes ahead of the company's third-quarter results, which are scheduled to be released later Tuesday morning. The buyback, which J&J said will be financed by issuing debt, has no time limit. Any shares repurchased will be available for general corporate purposes. With 2.77 billion shares outstanding, and at Monday's closing price of $95.99, the repurchase program would represent about 3.8% of the shares outstanding. "We are pleased that Johnson & Johnson's strong balance sheet and cash flow enable us to simultaneously return value to shareholders through our regular quarterly dividend and share repurchases, while at the same time continuing to invest in internal and external opportunities that will further strengthen our robust enterprise pipeline and drive long-term growth," said Chief Executive Alex Gorsky. The stock has lost 8.2% year to date, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has slipped 3.9%.

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