Stock markets finished lower on Wednesday, giving back early gains as investors started to worry about just how sustainable the bull market move in November was. Losses were biggest for the Nasdaq Composite (NASDAQINDEX: ^IXIC), but even there, the declines were relatively modest in comparison to the huge gains stock investors have enjoyed since the end of October. On Wednesday, blue chip stocks ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM) and Mastercard (NYSE: MA) were the latest companies to announce new share repurchase programs that could return as much as $51 billion to investors over the next couple of years.
Mastercard (MA) announces its tenth straight dividend hike and a new buyback program of $11 billion. These moves underline the company's financial strength.
The company said its new share repurchase program will become effective at the completion of its previously announced $9 billion program.