NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Much to no one's surprise, Apple (AAPL) topped the list of the most cash-rich companies in the U.S. What is a surprise, however, is that technology continues to remain supreme.
According to Moody's report of non-financial companies, companies rated by the credit rating agency held $1.64 trillion in cash at the end of 2013, up 12% year-over-year. In that list, the richest companies continue to get wealthier, accounting for $1.04 trillion, up 15% year-over-year, and 31% from 2011. Included in that list along with Apple are Microsoft (MSFT), Google (GOOG), Verizon (VZ) and Pfizer (PFE). Those five companies, of which four are in technology, account for $404 billion, or nearly 25% of all cash held on balance sheets.
Apple had $158.8 billion in cash and equivalents on its balance sheet at the end of the calendar year, up from $137 billion in 2013, as the company's iDevices continue to sell in droves. In the company's fiscal first-quarter quarter, ended Dec. 28, 2013, Apple sold 51 million iPhones, 26 million iPads, and 4.8 million Macs, on its way to generating $57.5 billion in revenue.
One problem that's been a subject of much debate is the amount of overseas cash, as politicians look for corporations to repatriate some of it, to not only create jobs, but create additional revenue as well. Moody's estimated overseas cash at $950 billion, around 58% of total cash, and up from $840 billion last year. "This amount reflects the negative tax consequences of permanently repatriating money to the U.S., and the domestic use of cash for dividends, share buybacks, and the majority of acquisitions," Moody's wrote in an email, detailing the survey.
Companies spent their cash last year on themselves and their shareholders, with capital spending reaching $869 billion, dividends reaching $365 billion, a seven-year high. Companies boosted share buybacks by 11%, while acquisition spending declined 15%.