After Buffett's backing of stock buybacks in the annual shareholder letter this year, some investors have argued whether buybacks create any real value, or if capital allocators are wise enough to use buybacks effectively.
The chart in FT is insightful, suggesting that most buybacks are procyclical.
Companies buying back their stock when the market is on a good run and growth is good, and pulling back when it is not the case, seems logical. A company increasing buybacks nearning a sharp slowdown is unlikely. Buybacks being procyclical (buying when prices are high), therefore, goes against the "All buybacks create value" narrative.
A shareholder might want to be diligent to assess if the comapny is deploying cash for buybacks that are actually value accretive (IRRs, target returns, opportunity costs for the company)