To avoid tripping insider trading rules, companies typically avoid buyback shares during the two weeks prior to reporting earnings. Last week's market storm -- the Nasdaq's worst week since March -- occurred during the darkest part of these so-called "blackout" windows.

"Right now, we're pretty much at a trough in corporate liquidity," said Keith Parker, head of US equity strategy at UBS.

Parker said that previous market tailspins, including the scary sell-offs in February as well as the one in April, coincided with buyback blackouts. "Almost to the day," he said.

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