Corporations around the world responded aggressively to the global recession and financial crisis, clamping down on spending and hoarding massive piles of cash. In the United States, where cost-cutting was especially dramatic, nonfinancial firms hold close to $2 trillion in cash, equal to a record 7 percent of total assets. (See “Time to Let Go?” this page.) Meanwhile, debt burdens are smaller than they've been in decades, both in the United States and globally. Many businesses may keep ...

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