2015-03-20 Microsoft Beats Apple In Cash, Short-Term Investments

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Microsoft Beats Apple In Cash, Short-Term Investments
BY BRIAN DEAGON, INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY
02:45 PM ET
If cash is king, then Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) wears the crown. Among companies in the S&P 500, Microsoft had the highest amount of cash and short-term marketable securities as of the end of Q4, to the tune of $90.25 billion, reports FactSet Research.

General Electric (NYSE:GE) is close behind Microsoft, followed by Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) and Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO).

Cash and short-term investments among all companies in the S&P 500 is at a record high $1.43 trillion. The previous record, set in Q4 2013, was $1.41 billion.

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), often cited as having the largest cash hoard, is No. 8 on the list at $32.4 billion. The difference is that the FactSet tally does not include long-term marketable securities. Apple has $145.5 billion in that category.

Marketable securities consist generally of common stock, government bonds, certificates of deposits and other securities that can be converted to cash. Short-term securities can be converted into cash within a year. Long-term securities have a longer time horizon.

Tech companies account for half of the top 10 S&P 500 companies with the most cash, totaling $284 billion. Following Microsoft, Google and Cisco was Oracle (NYSE:ORCL), then came Apple.

Oracle had the fastest growth in cash accumulation among the top 10, up 21% from Q4 2013.

Apple showed the largest drop, down 20%. One reason for that drop is that Apple is aggressively returning money to shareholders. In the fourth quarter, Apple listed $7.7 billion in dividend payments and stock buybacks.

That was the highest amount, followed by Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) and Intel (NASDAQ:INTC).

For the 12 months ended Jan. 31, a different FactSet report found that companies in the S&P 500 paid $375.9 billion in dividends in aggregate, setting a new high. Financial and information technology companies paid the most dividends at $60.7 billion and $57 billion respectively, said FactSet.

Follow Brian Deagon on Twitter: @IBD_BDeagon.

Read More At Investor’s Business Daily: http://news.investors.com/technology/032015-744430-microsoft-google-cisco-apple-cash-and-equivalents.htm#ixzz3UxbBTdsA
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