Reese: Follow the Cash

North American corporations are holding huge amounts of cash on their balance sheets, which has attracted criticism from some policymakers. But Validea CEO John Reese says many of these cash-rich firms should also be attracting investors.

“Companies that have big stockpiles of cash got a tongue-lashing this summer from Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney, who says such firms are using ‘excessive’ caution that is hindering economic growth,” Reese writes in his latest column for Canada’s Globe and Mail. “But while these cash-rich firms are a target of Mr. Carney’s ire, such companies also attract attention from highly successful investors for more positive reasons. Companies with lots of cash can increase their dividends, buy back their own shares or put money back into their business to help it grow.”

Reese says it’s critical to look beyond a company’s cash levels, however, and make sure it is also fundamentally sound. He offers a few cash-rich picks that his Guru Strategies, each of which is based on the approach of a different investing great, are high on right now. Among them: health insurer Humana, which gets high marks from his Peter Lynch-inspired model.