The U.S. stock market has been staging a vanishing act for years. Which is to say, it’s gotten smaller, due to a combination of takeovers, buybacks and fewer new listings. Investors don’t mind this. They often cite the contraction as part of a bull case premised on scarcity.

Something is happening to tilt the calculus against them.

While American firms almost always repurchase way more stock than they sell via offerings, May was different, as deals by Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc. glutted the market with new supply.

All told, U.S. companies announced plans to sell $43 billion of stock via initial and secondary offerings last month, roughly matching the amount they said they would remove via buybacks and takeovers. Only twice in the past six years has issuance exceeded supply, according to data compiled by TrimTabs Investment Research. For context, about $4.30 had been bought back for every $1 raised, on average, over the past year.

In a world where a trade war rages, bond yields are falling and every Federal Reserve utterance is combed for its interest-rate implications, it’s easy to dismiss swelling share issuance as a mortal threat to the rally. Not everyone sees it that way. The shift in the market’s supply and demand dynamic plays into a host of late-cycle anxieties in which companies pressure buyers with last-ditch efforts to cash in on stretched valuations before they deflate.

“Companies are looking at this as a great time to unload shares rather than to buy shares,” said Winston Chua, an analyst with TrimTabs. “You’re removing the buffer from the market that’d normally prevent more dramatic declines,” he said. “That’s usually a bad sign.”

Some 26 companies made debuts in May, driving total share sales to $43 billion. That’s more than double the previous month. On the other side of the ledger, demand is dwindling. Announced buybacks and takeovers tumbled 61% as corporate profits fell and President Donald Trump escalated a trade war.

For investors who believe companies are a crucial source of price support, the shift is worrisome. At times of trouble, companies appeared to have helped keep losses in the stock market from snowballing. The market’s bottom in February 2018 came in a week when Goldman Sachs’s corporate-trading desk saw the busiest buyback orders ever.

The role of buybacks in boosting the overall market is hotly debated. According to strategist Ed Yardeni, the benefit is overblown. Most repurchases are carried out to offset shares issued as employee compensation, he argues. During the eight years through 2018, buybacks reduced share count by only 1.1% a year. And there were little noticeable performance differences between S&P 500 companies that did and didn’t see their share count contract, according to a recent study by his firm, Yardeni Research.

The impact of buybacks “has been greatly exaggerated,” Yardeni wrote in a note last week.

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