Survey: Corporate Japan's buybacks at record high

A survey finds that corporate Japan had plans to buy back a record amount of shares earlier this month.

Tokai Tokyo Research Institute says companies listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange announced stock buybacks worth more than 3.2 trillion yen, or about 23 billion dollars, from May 1 to 19.

The amount would be the highest ever for a single-month period. That would exceed the previous record in May last year of about 3.1 trillion yen.

Companies often use buybacks to enhance returns to their shareholders. The process involves cancelling the shares they purchase, reducing their number. The result is a higher per-share value.

The operator of the Tokyo Stock Exchange since March has been urging companies with low share prices to raise their ratio of market valuation to book value. That guidance may be behind the high number of share buybacks this month.