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Here's why not all buybacks are created equal

A Lockheed Martin F-35
Simon Dawson | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Another day, another stock buyback announcement.

Defense contractor Lockheed Martin is one of the latest to join a parade of companies announcing major stock buyback programs. The company said Thursday it would buy back an additional $2 billion to its existing stock buyback program, which had $2.3 billion remaining. That follows other high-profile stock buyback announcements earlier in the week from Target, which added $5 billion to its program, and the headline-grabbing, renewed $40 billion buyback program from software and cloud-computing giant Microsoft.

These massive buyback programs may suggest corporate earnings will grow even more because companies are reducing the number of shares they use to calculate their earnings per share. But not all buybacks have the same relative impact on actual returns to shareholders, based on CNBC's analysis of data from S&P Dow Jones Indices.