updated 04:20 pm EDT, Wed March 14, 2012
Cash would have declined in 2011 without Apple
Apple leads US corporations in terms of cash reserves, notes Moody's Investors Service's Richard Lane. In all US corporations are said to hold about $1.2 trillion. Apple controls $97.6 billion; other tech companies in the top five include Microsoft with $51.7 billion, Cisco with $46.7 billion, and Google with $44.6 billion. Drugmaker Pfizer is fifth.
Lane's report notes that Apple is exerting a disproportionate influence. The company accounts for $64 billion of the $179 billion increase in US corporate cash since 2009, or about 36 percent. In 2011 overall cash would have fallen by $6 billion had Apple not seen a $46 billion growth. "Unless Apple changes its philosophy towards liquidity by instituting a one-time or ongoing common dividend, or if Apple starts to buy back stock, we estimate Apple's cash balances could increase by more than $50 billion in 2012 and approximate $150 billion," the report states.
Most corporate cash is actually sitting overseas, totaling about $700 billion, or 57 percent. Apple has 66 percent of its money overseas, or $64 billion. Microsoft and Cisco are each rated at 89 percent. Google, by contrast, has just 48 percent overseas, or $21.2 billion.