Corporate giants turn to stock buybacks

Corporate giants like Cisco are spending billions of dollars on stock buybacks, in a sign that the business community isn't confident about how fast the economy will grow.

Cisco, for instance, is spending around $15 billion to repurchase stock in 2012, The Washington Post says – or more than twice as much as it poured into research.

Home Depot, Wal-Mart, Pfizer and Goldman Sachs have also authorized buybacks, showing that the interest isn't limited to just one sector.

Stock buybacks increase earnings per share, and increase the value of each share – both important factors to investors. But it's also a sign, analysts say, that the companies aren't feeling too confident about the economy.