Wal-Mart announces massive share buy-back plan, up to $15 billion

Wal-Mart (WMT) has decided what to do with billions of the dollars that it has earned as its sales and profits have defied the economic downturn. The world's largest retailer will buy back as much as $15 billion of its stock.

Wal-Mart made the announcement at its annual meeting. Its board will use the new repurchasing facility to replace one that began in mid-2007. Over $3 billion is still left in that pool. Wal-Mart's press release for the program says: " 'We remain committed to returning value to our shareholders through share repurchase and dividends,' said Mike Duke, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. president and chief executive officer. 'During the last five years, Wal-Mart has repurchased approximately $21 billion worth of its shares.' "