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In some ways it’s still hard to believe that US debt was downgraded for the first time ever. This is likely going to have a huge impact on the markets and the global economy. Given this truly unique situation we decided to look for potential investments among larger companies that have low to manageable debt levels.

We ran a screen for companies that were trading with a debt ratio of .2 or less. Fortunately, we came up with more than a few companies that operate with a debt ratio of zero. From this pool we screened for large cap companies (X>$10B), which, in our view might be able to withstand the coming economic volatility better given their size.

The listed companies below all have a debt ratio of zero.

1. Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL)

Sector

Technology

Industry

Personal Computers

Market Cap

$346.38B

Beta

1.08

Analyst Sentiment

49/51 - List Buy/Outperform (Bullish)

The firm is a leader in the consumer technology space with high profile products such as the iPhone, iPad, and more. The firm has a debt ratio of 0. In the last month AAPL has gained 6.21% in value.

Short Interest Note:
The short interest for the firm is
1.20% as of 07/15/2011.

2. Accenture plc. (NYSE: ACN)

Sector

Services

Industry

Management Services

Market Cap

$36.87B

Beta

0.79

Analyst Sentiment

13/20 - List Buy/Outperform (Bullish)

The firm specializes in technology services, outsourcing, and consulting. The firm has a debt ratio of 0. In the last month ACN has lost 7.87% in value.

Short Interest Note:
The short interest for the firm is 3.1% as of 07/15/2011.

3. Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (Nasdaq: BBBY)

Sector

Services

Industry

Home Furnishing Stores

Market Cap

$12.94B

Beta

1.22

Analyst Sentiment

13/26 - List Hold (Neutral)

The firm operates a chain of stores that primarily sells home furnishings. The firm has a debt ratio of 0. In the last month BBBY has lost 10.49% in value.

Short Interest Note:
The short interest for the firm is 2.10% as of 07/15/2011.

4. General Electric (NYSE: GE)

Sector

Industrial Goods

Industry

Diversified Machinery

Market Cap

$175.01B

Beta

1.86

Analyst Sentiment

11/16 - List Buy/Outperform (Bullish)

GE is a prototypical US conglomerate that builds everything ranging from jet engines to power plants to light bulbs and more. The firm has a debt ratio of 0. In the last month GE has lost 13.33% in value.

Short Interest Note:
The short interest for the firm is .6% as of 07/15/2011.

5. Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ: GILD)

Sector

Healthcare

Industry

Biotechnology

Market Cap

$29.32B

Beta

0.36

Analyst Sentiment

13/28 - List Buy/Outperform (Bullish)

The firm develops and sells therapeutic drugs with a focus on unmet medical needs. The firm has a debt ratio of 0. In the last month GILD has lost 10.63% in value.

Short Interest Note:
The short interest for the firm is 1.10% as of 07/15/2011.

6. Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ: ISRG)

Sector

Healthcare

Industry

Medical Appliances & Equipment

Market Cap

$29.32B

Beta

1.79

Analyst Sentiment

13/28 - List Buy/Outperform (Bullish)

The firm manufactures and provides maintenance for the revolutionary Da Vince robotic device used for surgery. The firm has a debt ratio of 0. In the last month ISRG has lost 5.86% in value.

Short Interest Note:
The short interest for the firm is 4.20% as of 07/15/2011.

7. Paychex (NASDAQ: PAYX)

Sector

Services

Industry

Staffing & Outsourcing Services

Market Cap

$9.81B

Beta

0.86

Analyst Sentiment

15/23 – List Neutral/Hold (Neutral)

The firm provides HR, employee benefits, and payroll services to small-to-medium size businesses. The firm has a debt ratio of 0. In the last month PAYX has lost 13.56% in value.

Short Interest Note:
NA

8. Precision Castparts (NYSE: PCP)

Sector

Industrial Goods

Industry

Metal Fabrication

Market Cap

$21.48B

Beta

1.34

Analyst Sentiment

15/22 – List Buy/Outperform (Bullish)

The firm manufactures fasteners/fastener systems for critical aerospace, complex metal components, and more. The firm has a debt ratio of 0. In the last month PCP has lost 4.87% in value.

Short Interest Note:
The short interest for the firm is 1.60% as of 07/15/2011.

8. Citrix Systems (Nasdaq: CTXS)

Sector

Technology

Industry

Business Software and Services

Market Cap

$ 12.33B

Beta

1.00

Analyst Sentiment

18/35 - List Buy/Outperform (Bullish)

The firm develops and markets technology solutions for a variety of clients in multiple industries. The firm has a debt ratio of 0. In the last month CTXS has lost 21.66% in value.

Short Interest Note:
The short interest for the firm is 1.8% as of 07/15/2011.

9. EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC)

Sector

Technology

Industry

Data Storage Devices

Market Cap

$47.30B

Beta

.78

Analyst Sentiment

29/43 - List Buy/Outperform (Bullish)

The firm is an industry leader in backup software, information technologies, and network storage. The firm has a debt ratio of 0. In the last month EMC has lost 17.42% in value.

Short Interest Note:
The short interest for the firm is 1.8% as of 07/15/2011.

9. Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM)

Sector

Technology

Industry

Communication Equipment

Market Cap

$85.70B

Beta

1.08

Analyst Sentiment

31/43 – List Buy/Outperform (Bullish)

The firm manufactures and sells digital wireless telecommunication services and products. The firm has a debt ratio of 0. In the last month PCP has lost 13.08% in value.

Short Interest Note:
NA

10. T. Rowe Price Group (NASDAQ: TROW)

Sector

Financial

Industry

Asset Management

Market Cap

$13.21B

Beta

1.74

Analyst Sentiment

13/20 – List Neutral/Hold (Neutral)

The firm primarily generates revenue through investment advisory services and subsidiaries as a financial services holding company. The firm has a debt ratio of 0. In the last month TROW has lost 15.56% in value.

Short Interest Note:

The short interest for the firm is 2.00% as of 07/15/2011.

We hope this helps investors as they do their own homework and due diligence on large cap companies with no debt.

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

Source: 10 Large Caps That Operate With Zero Debt and Might Dodge the Downgrade Fallout