Must Read Money Stories for Monday, May 23

by May 23, 2016

The Big Five.

About a third of the $1.7 trillion cash holdings by non-financial U.S. firms is in the hands of just five tech companies — Apple Inc., Microsoft, Google’s parent Alphabet, Cisco Systems and Oracle — USA Today recently reported. The article was based on 2015 data in a new report released Friday by Moody’s Investors Service, which says the concentration of that cash last year has been steadily growing for years. In 2014, those companies’ cash holdings made up 27 percent in 2014 and 25 percent the year prior. Additionally, non-financial U.S. companies are increasingly keeping their cash overseas–representing 72 percent of cash holdings in 2015 versus 58 percent in 2013–and subsequently avoiding U.S. tax rates.

Payroll Spike.

The latest federal data show that 11 states saw statistically significant spikes in payrolls in April, while another five states noted a drop in unemployment, Bloomberg recently reported. California’s 59,600 job increase for the month pushed the state to the top of the list followed by Florida’s 31,000, while the unemployment rate dropped the most in Kentucky and South Dakota clinched the lowest rate in the nation at 2.5 percent. The opposite scenario, however, was true in some other states such as Pennsylvania, where payrolls took a dive and unemployment climbed in April.

Credit Card Debt.

Most American consumers struggle with debt today, which may explain why the nation’s on track to top $1 trillion in credit card debt this year–nearing the all-time record that was set just before the economic meltdown in mid-2008, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday. The WSJ reports that, as the job market and other economic conditions have recovered, consumers have an improving sense of financial security and therefore comfort in taking on more debt. Banks, too, have taken note, making credit cards one of the few remaining profitable areas today.

Election Roundup.

With front-runner Hillary Clinton having all but clinched the Democratic presumptive nomination, this year’s wild and unusually-lengthy presidential primary is now shifting focus to November. The latest polls, according to the Washington Post, show Clinton and GOP presumptive nominee Donald Trump are deadlocked–in terms of strong disfavor, that is. It’s the harshest the public has ever viewed two partisan presidential candidates at this stage in the race, the Post reports. Meanwhile, Trump continues to refuse to reveal his tax returns, ABC News reports, and Democrat Bernie Sanders, as reported by the New York Times, has been cranking up the heat on his feud with the party’s establishment leaders.