Mark Wilson/Getty Pictures

Corporate The united states is the standard punching handbag for criticism exercises throughout the nation. No matter the topic, main corporations are often seen as monetary heavyweights that constantly strike below the belt, in the expense of everyone else. Recently, corporations have been called money hoarders not willing to put money into the country’ s upcoming. While this may be true to some degree, the full scorecard provides a much less unanimous decision.

How much cash is hitting business balance sheets? A new analysis from FactSet discovers that cash, measured simply by cash and short-term opportunities, for S& P five hundred members (excluding financials) totaled $1. 43 trillion in late the fourth quarter for 2014. That is a new record higher and a $200 billion enhance from a year earlier. However, before we start booing and hissing at that will trillion-dollar figure, which consistently lands in headlines, a lot more context is needed.

The infamous cash set is not equal. Out of the ten sectors in the S& G 500, only six submitted a year-over-year increase in money balances, while four logged a decline. Furthermore, 5 of the 10 companies with all the highest cash balances in late 2014 were in the i . t sector: Microsof company (NASDAQ: MSFT), Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL), Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO), Oracle (NYSE: ORCL), and Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL). These 5 companies alone account for $284. 9 billion of the complete $1. 43 trillion available on S& P 500 stability sheets. The top 10 businesses holding the most cash be the reason for $505 billion.

Resource: FactSet

Every accounting student worth his / her passing grade will describe, there is more to a stability sheet than assets. Along with record cash balances, debts are also making a strong look, which hinders the appeal of cash balances, considering that these are real obligations that need repayment — albeit from low interest rates.

Within the fourth quarter, companies released $89. 4 billion within net debt, the third-highest total for a quarter in the last decade. As the chart over shows, cash as a percent of debt was 39. 4% at the end of 2014, lower from 42. 3% annually earlier and only slightly over its 10-year average associated with 36. 1%.

Perhaps the most important lesson to understand from record cash amounts is that if you can’ big t beat them, join all of them by becoming a shareholder. Distributions in the form of dividends and internet repurchase of stock improved by 1 . 7% year-over-year to $175. 4 billion dollars in the fourth quarter.

That marks the particular second time in the past 9 quarters that year-over-year aktionär distributions failed to grow simply by double digits. The Consumer Discretionary sector reported the highest development in distributions (23. 9%), while the Information Technology sector paid for the largest aggregate sum ($52. 2 billion).

Follow Eric on  Twitter  @Mr_Eric_WSCS

More from Company Cheat Sheet: