What To Do With All That Cash?

June 05, 2013

This week’s chart of the week examines the cash holdings of companies in the S&P 500 following the recession. Since 2007, the cash per share for the S&P 500 index has risen to $329.01 for a compounded annual growth rate of 11.5%. This was the result of companies protecting themselves against another economic downturn, but as the S&P 500 has hit record highs, cash and other short-term investments have continued to grow.

Investors often view high levels of cash as a sign of inefficiency. If companies have no favorable projects to invest their cash in, it should be returned to the shareholders. The most apparent instance of this was when shareholder activists began demanding Apple (AAPL) pay out some of its cash to investors. While Apple has announced it will return $100 billion to shareholders, it partially financed this buyback with debt to avoid taxes on its overseas cash. Although these high levels of cash are often viewed negatively, it could provide investors with opportunity if and when businesses decide to use these holdings. In addition to being paid out to shareholders, this cash could be reinvested in the firm or used to make new acquisitions, both theoretically leading to increased growth for the company. However, issues such as Apple’s international taxation may continue to discourage businesses from dispersing these positions. Furthermore, holding high amounts of cash may be the new norm as companies look to avoid liquidity problems during any decline the economy might face.

The opinions expressed herein are those of Marquette Associates, Inc. (“Marquette”), and are subject to change without notice. This material is not financial advice or an offer to purchase or sell any product. Marquette reserves the right to modify its current investment strategies and techniques based on changing market dynamics or client needs.

Related Content


The Banks’ Real Estate Problem

First quarter earnings season is getting started, with the largest banks reporting first. In the wake of last year’s regional…


First to Cut: The Fed or the ECB?

Based on implied probabilities derived from options markets, investors are currently forecasting an 82% chance that the European Central Bank…


1Q 2024 Market Insights Webinar

— LIVE WEBINAR APRIL 25 — Please join Marquette’s research team for our 1Q 2024…


Sweet and High Up

Chocolate eggs and bunnies may have appeared more expensive to shoppers this Easter weekend, as the price of cocoa futures…


The Crystal Ball Has Clouded

Last month, Marquette published a Chart of the Week that highlighted the aberrational length of the current…


Assessing the Likelihood of a Recession and Understanding the Impact on Portfolios

Is a recession coming to the U.S.? It’s a question that has been asked since 2022, as the Fed’s rapid…

More articles

Subscribe to Research Email Alerts

Research Email Alert Subscription

Research alerts keep you updated on our latest research publications. Simply enter your contact information, choose the research alerts you would like to receive and click Subscribe. Alerts will be sent as research is published.

We respect your privacy. We will never share or sell your information.

Thank You

We appreciate your interest in Marquette Associates.

If you have questions or need further information, please contact us directly and we will respond to your inquiry within 24 hours.

Contact Us >