5. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL)
> Cash and short-term investments: $27.65 billion
> LTM revenue: $148.81 billion
> LTM earnings: $40.13 billion
> Market cap: $623.60 billion
> Yield: 1.60%
Earlier in 2012, Apple had nearly $100 billion in cash, short-term investments and marketable securities (a category not used for this list), well more than any other U.S. company. But in March, the company announced it was returning some of that cash to shareholders by paying out a quarterly dividend of $2.65 a share. Incredibly strong sales of the iPhone and iPad have boosted Apple’s share price 77.75% in the past year. Now, with a market capitalization of approximately $623.60 billion, Apple is by far the most valuable company in the world. With more excitement from the new iPhone 5, it does not look like Apple’s sales increases will slow down.
4. Oracle Corp. (NASDAQ: ORCL)
> Cash and short-term investments: $30.68 billion
> LTM revenue: $37.12 billion
> LTM earnings: $9.98 billion
> Market cap: $154.53 billion
> Yield: 0.70%
Oracle, while not experiencing a rapid growth nearly as rapid Apple’s, has seen moderate success as of late, at least compared to the past several years. It remains the dominant enterprise software company in the world. While Oracle’s fourth-quarter revenue grew only by about 1% to $10.9 billion compared to last year, net income rose by a more respectable 8% to $3.45 billion. Shares of Oracle are up 19.18% in the past 12 months. One concern for Oracle is that its hardware systems sales were down 9% in 2012 due to weak demand, although software revenue, which makes up a far larger portion of total revenue, was up 9% on the year. And software is where Oracle is putting its money. The company announced in July it was buying software-defined networking vendor Xsigo Systems for an undisclosed sum. Oracle is famous for the torrid pace of its M&A activity.
3. Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG)
> Cash and short-term investments: $41.72 billion
> LTM revenue: $43.16 billion
> LTM earnings: $11.11 billion
> Market cap: $224.05 billion
> Yield: 0%
Google has been able to boost revenue by getting more people to click its advertisements. Products such as Android and Maps, despite broad adoption, have not added to the company’s sales in any significant ways. But the success of the firm’s ad business has been so great it has allowed the company to stash away a lot of cash. The company’s revenue of $12.21 billion in the most recent quarter was up 35% from a year earlier. In a span of about 14 years, Google has gone from a scrappy search engine startup to one of the most valuable companies in the world, valued at $224.05 billion. In the past year, shares of Google climbed 30.42%. Google faces more questions about its diversification, some of which is based on use of its cash. Google paid $12.5 billion to buyout Motorola Mobility. But, that puts the search company into a brutally competitive market that includes leaders Samsung and Apple.
2. Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO)
> Cash and short-term investments: $48.72 billion
> LTM revenue: $46.06 billion
> LTM earnings: $8.04 billion
> Market cap: $102.21 billion
> Yield: 2.90%
The nearly $50 billion in cash Cisco is sitting on is vital for the Bay Area technology company. Cisco has been facing a general slowdown in demand for information technology equipment due to economic woes both in the U.S. and in Europe. Due to this slowdown, Cisco in July announced job cuts of about 1,300 employees, on top of the 6,500 job cuts announced in 2011. Nevertheless, Cisco’s fourth-quarter and full-year earnings managed to beat Wall St. expectations. Shareholders have been getting their fair share of returns too — the stock price is up 24.35% in the past 12 months. Furthermore, the company announced last month it is hiking its quarterly dividend by 75%.
1. Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT)
> Cash and short-term investments: $62.04 billion
> LTM revenue: $73.72 million
> LTM earnings: $16.98 billion
> Market cap: $258.38 billion
> Yield: 2.60%
As companies such as Apple and Google have been at the forefront of the headlines, some say that Microsoft’s growth is in the past. But given that the company has more cash on hand than any other company based in the United States, a large portion of its huge market cap is due to the strength of its balance sheet nearly as well as to its growth rate. And although it is not considered the sexy company it once was, Microsoft is not doing poorly by any means. In July, the company reported record full-year revenue of $73.72 billion. In the past year, the stock price has risen 19.13%. Sales of the new Windows 8 and Surface tablet, which will begin next month, will be a telling period for the iconic software company.
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