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Originally published Wednesday, June 9, 2010 at 2:52 PM

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Bunge shares jump on $700M share buyback plan

Shares of Bunge Ltd. jumped Wednesday after the agribusiness company announced it would buy up to $700 million of its shares by the end of next year, which will help boost per-share earnings.

The Associated Press

NEW YORK —

Shares of Bunge Ltd. jumped Wednesday after the agribusiness company announced it would buy up to $700 million of its shares by the end of next year, which will help boost per-share earnings.

THE SPARK: Bunge said on Tuesday that the recent sale of its Brazilian fertilizer nutrients business for $3.8 billion gave it the financial strength to snap up its own shares.

THE BACKGROUND: Companies are gearing up stock repurchases in 2010. According to data tracker Dealogic, 310 companies have announced plans to buy up a collective $173.3 billion worth of stock as of Friday. That compares with 253 companies that had planned $20.3 billion in stock buybacks as of the same time last year. As revenue tumbled during the recession, companies held their cash tightly.

On Friday, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said it would buy back $15 billion in stock, one of the biggest repurchases of the year. On Wednesday, three other companies announced repurchase programs. Entertainment company Viacom Inc., which owns MTV Networks, announced a stock buyback of up to $4 billion, while Brown-Forman Corp., the maker of Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey and Southern Comfort, and engineering and construction company KBR Inc. announced smaller programs.

SHARE ACTION: Bunge shares rose $2.49, or 5.2 percent, to close at $50.25, having reached as high as $51.90 earlier in the session. The stock is still trading near the bottom of its 52-week trading range of $45.36 to $74.04.

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