ETF Trends
ETF Trends

U. S. companies continue to stockpile cash at an impressive clip. Citing Moody’s Investors Service, Barron’s reports that at the end of 2014 cash and equivalent securities for U.S. companies climbed 4% to $1.73 trillion.

The top five U.S. corporate cash hoards combine for a quarter of the total balance, according to Barron’s. Four of those five are technology companies with Dow component and pharmaceuticals giant Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) the outlier.

Investors opting to access cash-rich firms via exchange traded funds can opt for the funds such as the Health Care Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLV) and the Vanguard Health Care ETF (NYSEArca: VHT), both of which feature Pfizer as the second-largest holding. [Cash Rush to Healthcare ETFs]

The other cash juggernauts, as of the end of last year, according to Moody’s by way of Barron’s, are Apple (NasdaqGM: AAPL), Microsoft (NasdaqGM: MSFT), Google (NasdaqGM: GOOGL) and Cisco (NasdaqGM: CSCO).

Accessing those tech behemoths and their giant war chests is easy with popular ETFs, such as the Technology Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLK), iShares U.S. Technology ETF (NYSEArca: IYW) and the PowerShares QQQ (NasdaqGM: QQQ), the Nasdaq-100 (NDQ) tracking ETF.

At the end of last year, Apple had $178 billion in cash and marketable securities, but that number has since grown to $194 billion. It cannot be said that the California-based company is being stingy with its cash. When the company recently delivered fiscal second-quarter earnings, it also announced it is boosting its quarterly dividend to 52 cents a share from 47 cents while increasing its share repurchase program to $140 billion.

XLK, the largest tech sector ETF by assets, has a 17.8% weight to Apple while Microsoft, Google and Cisco combine for over 20% of the ETF’s weight. IYW allocates 20.4% to Apple with Microsoft, Google and Cisco combining for another 23.3% of the ETF’s weight. All four of those stocks are members of the Nasdaq-100. QQQ devotes about 28% of its weight to the quartet.

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