Analysis: Corporate America’s cash pile-up a reaction to refinancing risk

companies-raking-in-cash-hoarding-not-hiringWhy has corporate America been awash in record levels of cash? Numerous theories are offered as to why firms amass: Firms themselves are riskier, volatile, pessimistic and have record profits, to name a few. But an overlooked reason, according to new research by SMU Cox Rauscher Chair William Maxwell and co-authors, is that firms are hedging refinancing risk. Cash is a hedge in case they cannot raise the funds they may need if credit conditions are tight or another type of shock hits.