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In this Thursday, Aug. 6, 2009, file photo, DirecTV logos are seen on flyers in North Andover, Mass. From 2008 to 2013, earnings per share of DirecTV nearly quadrupled, due mostly to the company cutting the number of its shares in circulation by purchasing them from investors.

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How investors may be getting fooled by buybacks

Companies have been spending big on buybacks since the 1990s. What's new is the way buybacks have exaggerated the health of many companies, suggesting through EPS that they are much better at generating profits than they actually are.

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