Apple`s USD147 billion cash pile accounts for 10 percent of overall cash held by US corporates, according to Moody`s Investors Service, up from 9.5 percent at the end of 2012.
US corporates held a total of USD 1.48 trillion in cash as of 30 June 2013, up 2 percent from the previous record USD 1.45 trillion at the end of 2012. The survey covers 1,067 non-financial companies based in the U.S. and rated by Moody`s.
The technology sector is the most cash-flush of all industries, with the top four cash kings - Apple, Microsoft, Google, Cisco - holding a collective USD 329 billion.
Yet Apple`s cash hoard is almost double that of Microsoft, for example, which has USD 77 billion.
Apple has been active in returning cash to shareholders over the past 18 months. In April, the company pledged to spend USD 60 billion in buying back its stock by the end of 2015. By June, it had re-purchased USD 16 billion worth of its stock.
However, investors including billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn believe the company should do more. Icahn revealed on Tuesday that he had dinner with Apple CEO Tim Cook and urged him to increase its stock buyback program .
"Had a cordial dinner with Tim last night. We pushed hard for a
Icahn said in August that if Apple would issue a larger share buyback, the stock could be worth as much as USD 700 a share. Apple shares traded at USD 487.96 on Tuesday.
Cash not confined to techs
After the technology sector, the healthcare and pharmaceutical industry is the next most cash-flush sector, according to Moodys. Pfizer for example, is sitting on a USD 50 billion cash pile.
Automakers are also among the most cash-rich, with Ford Motor and General Motors holding USD 27.7 billion and USD 26 billion, respectively.
- By CNBC`s Ansuya Harjani; Follow her on Twitter @Ansuya_H
Copyright 2011 cnbc.com