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Listed below are three companies that have recently raised earnings guidance above analysts’ estimates. These three companies also have enough cash to cover at least 4 quarters of their past year’s average quarterly operating expense.

We calculated the average quarterly operating expense over the last four quarters, and compared it with current cash holdings for each firm. All companies listed below have more than 4x the cash for their avg. quarterly operating expense, translating into 4+ quarters of avg. operating expenses.

Having a cash buffer is always a plus, but do you think these companies can continue to beat analyst estimates? You be the judge--use the list below as the starting point for your own analysis.

Operating expenses and cash data from Google finance, all other data from Finviz.



List sorted by Cash/Avg. Quarterly Operating Expenses.

1. Acme Packet, Inc. (NASDAQ:APKT): Communication Equipment Industry. Market cap of $4.84B. Guided FY11 at approx. $1.05 vs. estimate of $1.04.

Current cash holdings at $270.69M vs. average quarterly operating expenses over the last four quarters at $41.26M. Cash/Avg. Quarterly Operating Expenses at 6.6, i.e. the company can go 6.6 quarters without generating revenue and still cover the average quarterly operating costs.

The stock has had a couple of great days, gaining 5.11% over the last week.

Recent developments: Announced two new products: the Net-Net Interactive Session Recorder and the Net-Net Application Session Controller (Feb. 2011). Unveiled a new product class called the Net-Net Policy Director (Jan. 2011).

2. Ansys, Inc. (NASDAQ:ANSS): Technical & System Software Industry. Market cap of $5.02B. Guided Q1 at $0.53-0.56 vs. estimate of $0.53.

Current cash holdings at $472.93M vs. average quarterly operating expenses over the last four quarters at $90.24M. Cash/Avg. Quarterly Operating Expenses at 5.2, i.e. the company can go 5.2 quarters without generating revenue and still cover the average quarterly operating costs.

The stock has gained 22.55% over the last year.

3. QUALCOMM Incorporated (NASDAQ:QCOM): Communication Equipment Industry. Market cap of $93.94B. Guided Q2 at $0.77-0.81 vs. estimate of $0.68. Guided FY11 at $2.91-3.05 vs. estimate of $2.78.

Current cash holdings at $10.51B vs. average quarterly operating expenses over the last four quarters at $2.06B. Cash/Avg. Quarterly Operating Expenses at 5.1, i.e. the company can go 5.1 quarters without generating revenue and still cover the average quarterly operating costs.

The stock has gained 50.36% over the last year.

Recent developments: Announced the launch of its Mobile Data Modem chipset designed for mobile broadband data devices (Feb. 2011). Announced the company has no plans to lay off any workers after its acquisition of Atheros Communications Inc. (Jan. 2011).

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

Source: Momentum Ideas: 3 Cash-Rich Companies Boosting Earnings Guidance