There are a lot of claims by mainstream media regarding cash on the sidelines and corporate cash levels.
Except for a handful of isolated companies, predominantly technology, claims are far-fetched. This interactive script showing the top 50 companies in the US by market cap is proof.
Please give the script time to load. It may take 10 seconds or more.
Thanks to Ellie Fields and Ross Perez at Tableau Software for help with the display!
As you can see, the total cash (in green) for the top 50 companies is $3.71 trillion, which sure sounds like a hell of a lot of cash, and it would be were it not for the debt (in red) totaling $4.45 trillion.
The data for this sheet is from Yahoo!Finance. Scroll over any of the bars (not the company name) to see more details. For example ...
Bank of America
Goldman Sachs (GS), Apple (AAPL), Google (GOOG), Microsoft (MSFT), Intel (INTC) and Qualcom (QCOM) are genuine cash cows, but JPMorgan (JPM), and Bank of America (BAC) are charlatans. As for Citigroup, how much of that cash is needed for losses?
Relatively speaking, the tech sector has quite a few cash cows but it also has some real turkeys like AT&T (T), Comcast (CMCSA), Verizon (VZ), and IBM.
Google and Apple have the distinction of holding buckets of cash and no debt.
An award of sorts goes to General Electric (GE) with a monstrous net cash level of negative $415.9 billion.
It's fair to point out that a handful of tech companies could go on a buying spree, but in aggregate, if one factors in debt, a negative $749.6 billion is sitting on the sidelines. That's a far cry from the purported $trillions of sideline cash ready to come pouring into the stock market at a moment's notice.
There is much more to this story.
Please see Cash Cow: "Who has the Cash?" Followup for details.
Mike "Mish" Shedlock
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