Analysis-Back with a bang, share buybacks offer boost for Europe Inc By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The German share price index (DAX) board is seen at the end of a trading day at the German stock exchange (Deutsche Boerse) in Frankfurt, Germany, February 12, 2019. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach/File Photo By Danilo Masoni and Sujata Rao MILAN (Reuters) - Europe's record-breaking earnings season has shown a sharp rise in the number of companies repurchasing their stock, raising investor hopes of big U.S.-style returns in a market that has historically focused on dividend payouts rather than buybacks. The buyback announcements stood out even amid Europe Inc's near-150% quarterly profit surge, the best since Refinitiv IBES records began in 2012 and analysts reckon they offer a further tailwind for the pan-European index, already at record highs. Analysis by market intelligence provider Alphasense shows 808 mentions of buybacks on earnings calls during the 180 days to Aug. 2, a 4% year-on-year rise and the strongest reading since late-2016. In the United
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