Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Report

added 200 million shares Tuesday to its buyback program.

The Charlotte, N.C., financial services giant said the move gives the company the authority to buy back as much as $12 billion of its own stock over 18 months.

"In 2004, our record earnings allowed us to return nearly $9 billion in capital to our shareholders in the form of dividends and net share repurchases," said CEO Ken Lewis. "We expect to continue generating strong returns and will continue to return excess capital to our shareholders."

The shares covered in Tuesday's move are valued at $8.75 billion at recent prices. The company has an added 42 million-share buyback authority remaining under a previous plan.

Bank of America had 4.05 billion common shares outstanding at Dec. 31. Its shares, which are in the middle of their 52-week range, slipped 64 cents Tuesday to $43.66.