NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- JPMorgan Chase ( JPM) bought back $4.4 billion in stock during the third quarter, well ahead of expectations, but shareholders were not too pleased about the timing of the purchases.

Shares of the bank dropped 26% during the third quarter, which means the bank might have been able to pick up shares at better prices.

CEO Jamie Dimon apologized for the poor timing of the investment during the analyst conference call on Thursday. "It would have been wiser to wait. We are sorry," he said.

The bank has fully exhausted the $8 billion approved for buybacks in 2011, which means it cannot offer any further support to the shares through the buyback program.

The management also did not outline any further plans to buy back stock. That was in contrast to the previous quarter, when the bank said it will actively seek ways to return excess capital to shareholders.

Dimon said the change in tone was because the bank was struggling with "capital confusion." The management had to determine when and how to use their excess capital. One decision they faced was whether to deploy capital towards more buybacks or snap up assets that were going on sale in the market.

Another decision was how soon they wanted to meet Basel III capital requirements and said that banks needed more guidance from regulators on that regard.

--Written by Shanthi Bharatwaj in New York

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Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors and reporters from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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