While many individual Americans are struggling financially, some of the largest corporations in the United States are sitting on billions in cash. Moody’s pointed out in March that U.S. nonfinancial companies’ cash holdings rose to $1.24 trillion.
24/7 Wall St. looked at the 10 companies with the largest cash piles the end of their most recently reported quarters. These companies combined have about $317 billion in cash and short-term investments on hand.
All of the companies on this list are large, multinational corporations. Every one had sales of at least $15 billion during the past 12 months, and all but one were Fortune 100 companies in 2012. The five companies with the most cash on their balance sheets are all technology companies, although they have different specialties, such as hardware or software. Also in the top 10 are two well-known oil companies, two drugmakers and a health insurer.
Companies hoard cash for a variety of reasons. Concerns about future economic conditions often lead companies to keep a sizable amount of cash in case demand for their products or services drop and they begin to post quarterly losses. Sometimes when the economic environment improves, firms return cash to shareholders in the form of a dividend or share buyback. In other cases, cash is held for potential acquisitions. But, there are cases, one of which was Apple until recently, where the company does not need the cash. This sometimes causes shareholder objections.
When listing the American companies with the most cash and short-term investments, 24/7 Wall St. also added several other factors about the company. We looked at the quarterly filings with the SEC and from Capital IQ for each company to get revenue and earnings for the past 12 months (LTM). We also looked at a company’s market capitalization, which is calculated by multiplying the share price and the number of shares outstanding on the market, and the dividend yield paid out to shareholders. In addition, we looked at the change in stock price over
the past 12 months to analyze each company’s market performance. We looked at other recent news about the companies to get a feel for market conditions and what the companies may do with their cash piles in the near future.
These are the 10 corporations with the most cash and short-term investments.