Seems as if corporations feel more cautious than the investors who have bid up their stocks lately, with companies content to conservatively bide their time sitting on loads of cash.
“Healthy profits, combined with opportunistic borrowing at very favorable market interest rates, are providing corporations with an ample cushion against the next business downturn,” Credit Suisse says, noting “the ratio of liquid assets to total assets on nonfinancial corporate balance sheets is hovering near a 45-year high.”
Big cash buffers are a manifestation of “the severe money demand shock American firms experienced in recent years,” the firm suggests. While that’s not good for long-term growth, it remains hard to get businesses “to risk even more of their precautionary holdings” on expansion, which could lift job growth.
The continuing decline in weekly jobless claims suggests employers have trimmed their workforces about as much as they can, but as Credit Suisse infers, they remain reluctant to expand or hire. Demand remains uneven, at best, and there’s clearly enough uncertainty related to the geopolitical picture and global growth to hold off on hiring, at least here in the US. Continue reading…