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Foreign Earnings Boost Corporate Bank Accounts, Led By Apple

Some former cash kings may be back on the rise after years of declining earnings. On Monday, Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty wrote in a note to clients that Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) may surprise investors in the amount of cash it's able to earn this year, making it possible a top play in the tech sector.

The prospect that HP grows its cash stockpile in 2013 might be a signal the company can stabilize its debt position and boost dividends or buybacks next year.

"Our new forecast assumes HP returns to a neutral net debt position in [the first half of 2014], at which point we expect HP to announce a more aggressive buyback / dividend policy or other investments in the business," Huberty wrote.

HP currently holds $12.6 billion in cash, making the PC-giant the twentieth leading cash holder in corporate America.

Overall, Moody's expects the rich will continue to get richer. Cash at the top 50 cash-rich corporations grew to $889 billion in 2012 or 61% total holdings. That's a near doubling from the $445 billion in cash the top-50 firms held in 2006.

Apple with over double the cash of Microsoft is expected to again drive growth bank accounts this year.

"We expect this percentage to be similar or higher in 2013, driven once again by Apple," Moody's notes.

-- Written by Antoine Gara in New York

Stock quotes in this article: AAPL, MSFT, GOOG, PFE, HPQ 

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