Led by Apple, Microsoft, Tech Sector Boasts Corporate Wealth

By Josh Long Comments
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Apple, Google, Microsoft and Verizon are absolutely filthy rich.

Of all U.S. non-financial companies rated by Moody's Investor's Service, the four tech and telecom titans control the biggest cash hoard along with the pharmaceutical giant, Pfizer.

Apple alone held nearly 10 percent of total corporate cash last year, an astounding $158 billion, Moody's, the credit ratings agency, revealed yesterday in a special report. 

"By itself, Apple now holds more cash than the total for every industry sector except technology and health care/pharmaceuticals," said Moody's senior vice president Richard Lane, lead author of the report.

Microsoft, Google and Verizon Communications haven't fared poorly either, controlling respective cash mounds of $83.9 billion, $58.7 billion and $54.1 billion as of Dec. 31, 2013.

Lane said the technology sector boasted the biggest cash hoard, $638 billion or 39 percent of the $1.64 trillion in non-financial corporate cash as of the end of last year.

In fact, of the top 10 cash kings, seven companies are in the tech or telecom sector, including Cisco Systems ($47.1 billion; report date: Jan. 25, 2014), Oracle Corp. ($37 billion; report date: Nov. 30, 2013) and Qualcomm ($31.6 billion; report date: Dec. 29, 2013), Moody's reported.

The report underscored what most Americans already know: The richest of the rich control the lion's share of America's wealth. According to Moody's, the 50 richest companies comprised 64 percent of the non-financial corporate cash pile last year. Of the top 50, 18 companies are in the tech or telecom sector.

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