Big companies like automaker Ford, aircraft builder Boeing and beverage king Coca-Cola are planning to cut the cash they put into employees' pensions this year. Investors are hoping to get their hands on the money instead.
Thanks to the rising stock market and higher interest rates, companies aim to cut contributions to their employee pension plans by 28% or $16 billion this year to $40 billion, says research firm International Strategy & Investment, based on estimates provided by the 345 companies in the S&P 500 that still have pension plans.
These expected 2014 pension contribution cuts come after the companies already reduced their pension contributions 27% in 2013 to $56 billion, the lowest contribution since 2008, ISI says. That's all money investors hope will be coming their way in the form of dividend hikes or stock buybacks.
The S&P 500 companies planning to cut their contributions in 2014 to pension plans the most include: