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Wall Street to companies: Spend that cash!

CEO spending money
Rob Friedman | Getty Images

Wall Street has a clear message for CEOs: start spending all that cash.

Nearly three-quarters of financial industry professionals think companies have "too much cash" or "way too much cash" rotting in the bank, according to the Convergex Corporate Cash Survey obtained Tuesday by CNBC.com.

The technology sector was singled out as the most in need of additional spending. Some 73 percent of investment professionals said tech companies are holding too much dough, followed by the financial sector (43 percent), industrials (26 percent) and consumer staples (18 percent), according to Convergex.

"Our survey shows that investors want corporate leaders to open up the checkbook," Nicholas Colas, Convergex chief market strategist, said in a statement.

Colas noted that Wall Street actually favors investments in businesses (61 percent of respondents)—so called capital expenditures, or "capex"—as opposed to returning capital to investors through dividends or stock buybacks (39 percent), a common demand of activist investors.

"While the loudest voices may be calling for return of capital to investors, our respondents were decidedly against the conventional wisdom, instead calling for spending aimed at growth," Colas said.

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The survey was performed by Convergex, a brokerage and trading-related services provider, and included 188 financial industry participants. The survey was conducted from Feb. 10 to Feb. 12, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 10 percent. Respondents included buy-side firms such as asset managers and hedge funds; sell-side firms like banks and broker-dealers; trading venues; service providers; and other financial industry participants.

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