HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — United Technologies may buy back up to 60 million of its shares, replacing an approximately $4.3 billion stock buyback program which began almost three years ago and is nearly spent.

The industrial conglomerate said Monday that the new program's value is $5.4 billion at today's stock prices. It expects its repurchases to total about $1 billion this year, unchanged from a previous estimate.

Companies buy back stock in an effort to reward shareholders, as reducing the number of stock outstanding can lift earnings per share.

Last month the Hartford, Conn., company reported a fourth-quarter profit, excluding one-time items, met Wall Street's expectations. Revenue fell short of analysts' estimates.

Shares of United Technologies Corp. dropped 38 cents to $89.46 in morning trading.

 

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