U.S. companies outside the financial sector are expected to hold less cash this year than in 2018 as they repay debt and return cash to shareholders, according to Moody's Investors Service.
Cash holdings are set to decrease to $1.56 trillion at the end of 2019, compared with $1.69 trillion in 2018, it said.
Technology companies remain the biggest holders of cash. Apple Inc., Alphabet Inc., Amazon.com Inc., Cisco Systems Inc., Facebook Inc., Oracle Corp. and Microsoft Corp. are expected to hold a combined $638 billion in cash through 2019, a decline of 1% for the seven companies compared with the prior year, Moody's said.
Revenue, cash flow from operations, capital spending and investments for research and development are set to rise at those technology companies, while share buybacks and debt are expected to fall, according to Richard Lane, a Moody's senior vice president.
Cash allocation policies at those technology firms aren't representative of what other large U.S. companies are planning to do, Mr. Lane said. "These companies do not alter their strategy because of tax reform or the economic outlook."
Other firms might adjust their strategy to hoard cash again in the face of heightened uncertainty because of trade tensions, Britain's planned exit from the European Union and political unrest, Mr. Lane said.
Write to Nina Trentmann at Nina.Trentmann@wsj.com