Does the OC have too much cash?

April 26, 2005

Enjoyed a lunch meeting today with the folks at Baseline Systems and Dynamic Methods.

Both are Microsoft solutions houses (hold your boos) offering Great Plains software and Microsoft CRM in Orange County. Business is apparently strong, with plenty of medium sized companies either upgrading IT for security or Sarbanes Oxley compliance, or for better automation of their sales process.

My guess is that both of those are ok reasons for the investment, but the real reason is that businesses are flush with cash. They’re still scared to hire because of uncertainty, but business is brisk enough to produce returns. I read something the other day that said companies in the OC netted almost $1 billion increase in revenue with no employment increase.

Study a few balance sheets and look at the cash positions. Now you know why companies are buying buildings, software, and other large capital purchases, but not hiring employees.

The good news is that the Fed won’t be able to stifle business with increases in rates, but that means inflation also won’t be halted because the business will pay the asking price to other businesses. Following that logic, the Fed will continue to pump the rate over the next few years to stop that problem, but kill the consumers. What a nasty cycle.

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