On the face of it, the $3 billion that Accenture ( ACN) has piled onto its existing stock-buyback program is the company's latest attempt to prevent a crush of shares from flooding the market and depressing the stock price. When announcing the addition on Thursday, the company said that most of the cash will absorb tens of millions of so-called Founder shares granted to the partners of the firm at the time of the initial public offering in 2001. Restrictions on the sale of those shares expire in 2009, threatening to fill the market with more shares than buyers if current and former partners unload large amounts of their holdings within a short period of time. That could force traders to lower their bid-ask spread, and pull down the share price. But the size of the buyback -- which is nearly double the $1.65 billion remaining under the existing authorized buyback plan -- may be the true significance of Thursday's announcement. Accenture is telling shareholders that it has confidence in its ability to continue generating cash regardless of market conditions. The company has not specified a timeline for the repurchases, but said that they will take place within the next few years. "The magnitude of this move coupled with the existing authorization genuinely makes the statement that management feels very positive about the company's prospects," says Eric Boyce, a portfolio manager with Hester Capital Management, which holds Accenture shares. "It's a viable use of cash flow in the absence of acquisitions or other business development opportunities."