Apple's war chest is bursting at the seams: The company is now sitting on $76.2 billion in cash, which happens to be more than the gross domestic product of 126 nations. Its sum has increased 15.8% just since March, thanks to a surprisingly strong quarter announced Tuesday—and investors and analysts are increasingly asking what on earth the company plans on doing with all that money. "If they can't find ways to use it to grow, they should be returning it to shareholders," one analyst told the Wall Street Journal.
By way of comment, Apple repeated its long-standing policy: "One or more very strategic opportunities may come along that we can take ... because of our strong cash position." But one analyst isn't buying that line. "We're talking about a level of cash that's preposterous by any metric," he said, adding that Apple's lack of debt means it would have no trouble borrowing money at a very low interest rate should such a strategic opportunity arise. Apple is hardly the only tech company hoarding cash in uncertain times—Microsoft has $60.9 billion, Google has $39.1 billion, and Cisco Systems Inc. has a tidy $43.4 billion.