David Kirkpatrick

August 3, 2010

From the department of, “no duh” — corporate cash hoarding

Filed under: Business — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 8:13 pm

Companies are hoarding cash at insanely high levels. Bad for the overall economy and bad for the companies who retain overly large cash reserves as well.

From the link:

It isn’t for a lack of resources. Non-financial companies in the S&P 500 index reported $837 billion in cash at end of March, a hefty 26% increase over the previous year’s $665 billion, according to S&P. These are unusually high levels — companies are holding cash reflecting 10% of their value today. Since 1999, companies on average held cash equal to 6.6% of their value.

In many ways, the record levels reflect the scars of the financial crisis. Chief executives learned the hard way what happens when credit markets freeze, as they did in late 2008 and early 2009. And the country’s relatively grimmer economic forecasts aren’t helping as consumer spending continues to slump. The U.S. Commerce Department reported last week that GDP growth slowed during the second quarter, growing by 2.4% compared to 3.7% the previous quarter.

But while companies try to play it safe by upping their stashes of cash, hoarding does little good in the way of improving the broader economy. What’s more, it could hinder companies from prepping for future growth.

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