The preference for financial engineering over hiring, expansion, M&A, or dividend issuance has been in force for a while now, Brown writes, and nothing could be less productive.
Apple (AAPL) announced a $10 billion share buyback and a $2.65-per-share quarterly dividend to be paid out going forward. AAPL buybacks are starting out relatively small, but they have room to raise the buyback amount.
Stock buybacks would occur when Berkshire Hathaway stock is within 110 percent of book value. If stock buybacks happen, they would be the first in Warren Buffett's 46 years heading Berkshire.
Stock options to executives, dividend programs can hurt value of a stock. So companies increase stock buybacks for eighth consecutive quarter.