|Anthony Freda Illustration
U.S. companies are hoarding almost $1 trillion in cash but are unlikely to spend on expanding their business and hiring new employees due to continuing uncertainty about the strength of the economy, Moody’s Investors Service said on Tuesday.
As the economy stabilizes companies are also more likely to spend on share repurchases and mergers and acquisitions, Moody’s added.
Companies cut costs, reduced investment in plants and equipment and downsized operations in order to boost cash holdings during the recession. As the corporate bond market reopened many companies also boosted cash levels by selling debt and refinancing near-term debt maturities.
The US unemployment rate, meanwhile, sits at a whopping 9.2 percent. (A graph of the unemployment rates state by state can be found here).
Nonfinancial U.S. companies are sitting on $943 billion of cash and short-term investments, as of mid-year 2010, compared with $775 billion at the end of 2008, Moody’s said. This would be enough to cover a year’s worth of capital spending and dividends and still have $121 billion left over, it said.
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