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March 29, 2005
Too much cash, not enough ways to spend it
Some of New York's largest companies are facing "an embarrassment of riches as cash on their balance sheets swells to record levels," says Crain's New York. At the end of 2004, in fact, 20 of the largest nonfinancial companies in the New York metro area (e.g. PepsiCo, Pfizer, Time Warner, KeySpan) had a combined total of more than $80 billion in cash.
According to analysts, there are two ways of looking at things. Either these companies are reporting record profit levels at a time when there's simply "a dearth of attractively priced assets to buy" or -- and here's the glass-half-empty scenario -- these companies are building up "rainy-day" funds in expectation of a recession in 2006 or 2007.
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