There are not many public companies, large or small, that are rolling in cash. Fewer want to send that money back to their shareholders. A number of America's largest corporations have billions of dollars on their balance sheets and this has caused people who own the stocks to complain. What does Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) need with over $20 billion in cash and short-term investments when it makes well over $1 billion each quarter? That cash won't go toward M&A. Apple never buys anything.
McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) is at the other end of the spectrum from Apple. It has built an effective mechanism for getting money back to shareholders through stock buy-backs and dividend increases. The company has a healthy 3.6 percent yield, and on September 24 it increased its dividend by 10 percent to $.55 cents a share.