8/1/17: Corporate Cash: Organic Capex Still Sluggish

In 2016, based on data from Goldman Sachs, 26 percent of aggregate S&P500 company cash went to fund shares buybacks, matching 2013 ratio of buyback to cash for the highest in 9 years. At the same time, Dividends rose to 19 percent of cash compared to 18 percent in 2015, and M&As contracted to 14 percent of cash from 18 percent in 2015. As the result, CAPEX and R&D spending by S&P500 companies managed to rise to 41 percent of cash in 2016 from 40 percent in 2015, making this the third (after 2015) lowest CAPEX & R&D spend year (as a share of total cash) since 1999. CAPEX & R&D represent organic investments by the firms and are jobs additive. M&As and Buybacks are forms of financial allocations and are not supportive of jobs creation. In 2016, based on the data, the split between financial and organic investment was 40:41, which is slightly better than in 2015 (42:40), but still represents the fourth worst year on record (since 1999).

This post was published at True Economics on Sunday, January 8, 2017.