It’s amazing how tech- and Internet-dependent we’ve become. I remember when cell phones were actually used to make phone calls and sending someone a birthday card required a stamp. And I’m not that old!
For the record, I love the wonderful things my cell phone can do—I can deposit checks without going to the bank, order a ride that will appear in minutes, and am shamed if I slack off on my running schedule.
But from an investing standpoint, I am old school. I like mature technology companies—think large established brands like Intel, IBM and Oracle. These companies can use healthy cash balances to unlock shareholder value, are more likely to fare well if the Fed starts raising rates as expected this year and stand to benefit from continued improvement in the U.S. economy.
Cash-fortified, low debt
Some industry-leading companies have been hoarding cash. Consider that four information-age bellwethers―Apple, Microsoft, Google and Cisco―possess a combined $345 billion in cash. And the overall tech sector holds more than half of total corporate cash reserves in the U.S.1
With strong balance sheets, these companies are well-positioned to deliver returns through share repurchases, dividend increases and mergers and acquisitions. In fact, some activist investors have been pushing them in this direction, and share buybacks by S&P 500 tech companies started to accelerate in 2014.