Big companies are awash in cash as economy picks up
By Tom Petruno
The brutal recession has left many American families, small businesses and state and local governments in financial ruin or teetering on the brink.
But it's a much different story for the nation's biggest companies. Many have emerged from the economy's harrowing downturn loaded with cash, thanks to deep cost-cutting that helped drive unemployment into double digits.
And although the banking crisis starved countless entrepreneurs for money last year, credit was never scarce for business titans.
Corporate America's robust finances have been a boon for the companies' stocks: On Tuesday, the blue-chip Dow Jones industrial average hit its highest level in nearly 18 months, surging 102.94 points, or 1%, to 10,888.83...