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Here we present 17 large cap companies with low cash positions, measured by cash as a percentage of average quarterly operating expense over the last four quarters.

Mature firms have more predictable operations, which decreases the need to hold large sums of cash. However, holding such low cash reserves leaves little cushion for future lulls in demand, and it decreases the firm’s ability to make successful acquisitions.



Do you think these firms need to be more liquid? Use this list as a starting-off point for your own cash analyses.

List sorted by cash as a percentage of average quarterly operating expense.

1. Praxair Inc. (NYSE:PX): Synthetics Industry. Market cap of $31.31B. Current cash holdings at $39.00M vs. average quarterly operating expenses over the last four quarters at $2.01B. Cash/Avg. Quarterly Operating Expense at 0.0194, i.e. the company can pay 1.94% of the average quarterly operating expense with current cash holdings. The stock has gained 24.63% over the last year.

2. The Home Depot, Inc. (NYSE:HD): Home Improvement Stores Industry. Market cap of $60.83B. Current cash holdings at $545.00M vs. average quarterly operating expenses over the last four quarters at $15.55B. Cash/Avg. Quarterly Operating Expense at 0.0350, i.e. the company can pay 3.50% of the average quarterly operating expense with current cash holdings. The stock has gained 17.19% over the last year.

3. Johnson Controls Inc. (NYSE:JCI): Auto Parts Industry. Market cap of $28.02B. Current cash holdings at $321.00M vs. average quarterly operating expenses over the last four quarters at $8.39B. Cash/Avg. Quarterly Operating Expense at 0.0383, i.e. the company can pay 3.83% of the average quarterly operating expense with current cash holdings. The stock has gained 31.22% over the last year.

4. Express Scripts Inc. (NASDAQ:ESRX): Health Care Plans Industry. Market cap of $29.88B. Current cash holdings at $523.70M vs. average quarterly operating expenses over the last four quarters at $10.73B. Cash/Avg. Quarterly Operating Expense at 0.0488, i.e. the company can pay 4.88% of the average quarterly operating expense with current cash holdings. The stock has gained 9.59% over the last year.

5. CVS Caremark Corporation (NYSE:CVS): Drug Stores Industry. Market cap of $48.85B. Current cash holdings at $1.43B vs. average quarterly operating expenses over the last four quarters at $22.56B. Cash/Avg. Quarterly Operating Expense at 0.0634, i.e. the company can pay 6.34% of the average quarterly operating expense with current cash holdings. The stock has had a couple of great days, gaining 6.3% over the last week.

6. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:WMT): Discount, Variety Stores Industry. Market cap of $184.96B. Current cash holdings at $7.40B vs. average quarterly operating expenses over the last four quarters at $99.08B. Cash/Avg. Quarterly Operating Expense at 0.0746, i.e. the company can pay 7.46% of the average quarterly operating expense with current cash holdings. The stock has lost 2% over the last year.

7. Apache Corp. (NYSE:APA): Independent Oil & Gas Industry. Market cap of $49.60B. Current cash holdings at $134.00M vs. average quarterly operating expenses over the last four quarters at $1.72B. Cash/Avg. Quarterly Operating Expense at 0.0778, i.e. the company can pay 7.78% of the average quarterly operating expense with current cash holdings. The stock has gained 22.64% over the last year.

8. Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM): Major Integrated Oil & Gas Industry. Market cap of $422.37B. Current cash holdings at $7.83B vs. average quarterly operating expenses over the last four quarters at $82.57B. Cash/Avg. Quarterly Operating Expense at 0.0948, i.e. the company can pay 9.48% of the average quarterly operating expense with current cash holdings. The stock has gained 28.75% over the last year.

9. Lowe's Companies Inc. (NYSE:LOW): Home Improvement Stores Industry. Market cap of $35.16B. Current cash holdings at $1.12B vs. average quarterly operating expenses over the last four quarters at $11.40B. Cash/Avg. Quarterly Operating Expense at 0.0985, i.e. the company can pay 9.85% of the average quarterly operating expense with current cash holdings. The stock has gained 6.17% over the last year.

10. Target Corp. (NYSE:TGT): Discount, Variety Stores Industry. Market cap of $35.32B. Current cash holdings at $1.71B vs. average quarterly operating expenses over the last four quarters at $15.72B. Cash/Avg. Quarterly Operating Expense at 0.1089, i.e. the company can pay 10.89% of the average quarterly operating expense with current cash holdings. The stock has lost 6.82% over the last year.

11. Philip Morris International, Inc. (NYSE:PM): Cigarettes Industry. Market cap of $118.27B. Current cash holdings at $1.70B vs. average quarterly operating expenses over the last four quarters at $14.13B. Cash/Avg. Quarterly Operating Expense at 0.1205, i.e. the company can pay 12.05% of the average quarterly operating expense with current cash holdings. The stock has gained 31.46% over the last year.

12. Southern Company (NYSE:SO):
Electric Utilities Industry. Market cap of $32.70B. Current cash holdings at $447.00M vs. average quarterly operating expenses over the last four quarters at $3.41B. Cash/Avg. Quarterly Operating Expense at 0.1310, i.e. the company can pay 13.10% of the average quarterly operating expense with current cash holdings. The stock has gained 21.26% over the last year.

13. Walgreen Co. (NYSE:WAG): Drug Stores Industry. Market cap of $38.02B. Current cash holdings at $2.24B vs. average quarterly operating expenses over the last four quarters at $16.55B. Cash/Avg. Quarterly Operating Expense at 0.1355, i.e. the company can pay 13.55% of the average quarterly operating expense with current cash holdings. The stock has gained 14.02% over the last year.

14. FedEx Corporation (NYSE:FDX):
Air Delivery & Freight Services Industry. Market cap of $29.86B. Current cash holdings at $1.36B vs. average quarterly operating expenses over the last four quarters at $9.00B. Cash/Avg. Quarterly Operating Expense at 0.1510, i.e. the company can pay 15.10% of the average quarterly operating expense with current cash holdings. The stock has gained 4.87% over the last year.

15. Colgate-Palmolive Co. (NYSE:CL): Personal Products Industry. Market cap of $39.99B. Current cash holdings at $564.00M vs. average quarterly operating expenses over the last four quarters at $3.02B. Cash/Avg. Quarterly Operating Expense at 0.1868, i.e. the company can pay 18.68% of the average quarterly operating expense with current cash holdings. The stock has lost 1.01% over the last year.

16. Procter & Gamble Co. (NYSE:PG): Personal Products Industry. Market cap of $172.98B. Current cash holdings at $3.25B vs. average quarterly operating expenses over the last four quarters at $15.97B. Cash/Avg. Quarterly Operating Expense at 0.2034, i.e. the company can pay 20.34% of the average quarterly operating expense with current cash holdings. The stock has gained 1.78% over the last year.

17. Hess Corporation (NYSE:HES): Oil & Gas Refining & Marketing Industry. Market cap of $28.78B. Current cash holdings at $1.61B vs. average quarterly operating expenses over the last four quarters at $7.83B. Cash/Avg. Quarterly Operating Expense at 0.2055, i.e. the company can pay 20.55% of the average quarterly operating expense with current cash holdings. The stock has gained 32.95% over the last year.

*Cash and operating expense data sourced from Google Finance, all other data sourced from Finviz.

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

Source: Short Targets? 17 Large Cap Stocks With Low Cash Holdings