Tags: companies | hold | cash | Fed

Companies Holding More Cash Amid Concern Over Fed Tapering

Thursday, 01 Aug 2013 08:00 AM

By Dan Weil

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U.S. companies are building up their cash reserves, as they anticipate the Federal Reserve will taper its quantitative easing soon.

The worry is that the economy can't withstand a shrinkage of the Fed's easing program, so companies want to rein in their spending, according to The Wall Street Journal.

That means less money for hiring, plant expansion, acquisitions, etc.

Editor's Note:
An $87,500 Tax Loophole Discovered by Cherry Hill Accountant

"Corporate treasurers tend to hold higher amounts of cash in the face of greater economic and policy uncertainty," Thomas Deas, chairman of the National Association of Corporate Treasurers, tells The Journal.

The July survey of chief financial officers and treasurers by the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP) shows companies are building their cash reserves. And it shows that CFOs expect to hold more cash by the end of this quarter than they do now, The Journal reports.

"Companies at the minimum seem to be a little apprehensive about some things, one of them probably being the expectation in the market that the Fed will slow its pace of stimulus at one of the future meetings," Kevin Roth, managing director of research for the AFP, tells The Journal.

Industrial companies in the Standard & Poor's 500 Index are on pace for record cash holdings in the second quarter, Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at S&P Dow Jones Indices, tells the paper.

"They're not making a lot of money on investments," Silverblatt notes. "When they do decide to spend it, they'll have a big shopping list."

Many investors are looking for companies that are at least willing to put their cash to work in providing dividends, and some companies are granting that wish.

"U.S. companies are becoming more shareholder friendly in a dividend-paying way," Alan Porter, a portfolio manager for Edinburgh-based Martin Currie Investment Management, tells Bloomberg.

"That has been quite an important sea change. There has been a lot of shareholder demand on corporate America to start paying higher dividends."

Editor's Note: An $87,500 Tax Loophole Discovered by Cherry Hill Accountant

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